Jones Gap Trail In South Carolina

Here is everything you need to know about the Jones Gap Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: South Carolina
  • Length: 5.3 miles.
  • Type: Hiking
  • Surface: dirt
  • Managed By: South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism
  • Permit Required?: No
  • Website:

The Jones Gap Trail, located in South Carolina’s Upstate region, holds a rich historical significance that dates back centuries. The trail follows the course of the Middle Saluda River, which has been a vital water source for indigenous peoples and early settlers in the area. Native American tribes, such as the Cherokee, utilized the river’s resources for fishing and transportation, leaving behind traces of their presence along the trail.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, European settlers began to explore and settle in the region. The Jones family, for whom the trail is named, were among the early pioneers who established a homestead in the area. The Jones family played a significant role in the development of the region, and their legacy is still evident today.

In the early 20th century, the Jones Gap area became a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts seeking to escape the bustling city life. The pristine beauty of the surrounding mountains and the Middle Saluda River attracted hikers, campers, and nature lovers. Recognizing the area’s natural and historical value, the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism established Jones Gap State Park in 1989, preserving the land and ensuring its accessibility for future generations.

Today, the Jones Gap Trail serves as a gateway to the park’s diverse ecosystems, including hardwood forests, waterfalls, and granite outcrops. Hikers can still witness remnants of the past, such as old homesteads and stone walls, as they traverse the trail. The historical significance of the Jones Gap Trail adds an extra layer of appreciation for the natural beauty that surrounds it, making it a cherished destination for both history enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers alike.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Jones Gap State Park Visitor Center: This is the starting point for the Jones Gap Trail. It provides parking facilities and restrooms.

2. Jones Gap Trailhead: Located near the visitor center, this is the official trailhead for the Jones Gap Trail. It is marked with signage and offers access to the entire trail.

3. Coldspring Branch Trailhead: This access point is located approximately 1.5 miles from the Jones Gap Trailhead. It provides an alternative starting point for hikers.

4. Rainbow Falls Trailhead: About 3 miles from the Jones Gap Trailhead, this access point leads to the popular Rainbow Falls. It offers parking facilities and is a common starting point for those interested in visiting the waterfall.

5. Hospital Rock Trailhead: Located around 4 miles from the Jones Gap Trailhead, this access point provides parking facilities and leads to Hospital Rock, a unique geological formation.

6. Bill Kimball Trailhead: Approximately 5 miles from the Jones Gap Trailhead, this access point offers parking facilities and leads to the Bill Kimball Trail, which connects to other trails in the area.

7. Jones Gap Trail Terminus: The end point of the Jones Gap Trail is located at the intersection with the Coldspring Branch Trail, forming a loop. Hikers can return to the Jones Gap Trailhead from here.

These are the major access points or trailheads along the Jones Gap Trail. There may be additional smaller access points or connectors along the trail as well.

Transportation Available

1. Uber – On-demand ridesharing service.
2. Lyft – Ride-hailing service connecting passengers with drivers.
3. Yellow Cab – Traditional taxi service available for transportation needs.
4. Greenville Transit Authority (GTA) – Public bus service operating in the Greenville area.
5. Enterprise Rent-A-Car – Car rental service offering various vehicle options.
6. Greyhound – Intercity bus service connecting different cities.
7. Amtrak – National passenger railroad service with nearby stations.
8. Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (GSP) – Local airport providing domestic and international flights.
9. Megabus – Low-cost intercity bus service with various destinations.
10. Lime – Electric scooter and bike-sharing service available for short-distance travel.


The amenities available at the Jones Gap Trail include:

1. Restrooms: There are restroom facilities available at the Jones Gap State Park Visitor Center, which is located near the trailhead.

2. Parking: There is a parking lot available at the Jones Gap State Park Visitor Center for trail users.

3. Camping Sites: Jones Gap State Park offers several camping sites for overnight stays. These sites include tent camping areas and RV camping sites.

4. Picnic Areas: There are designated picnic areas with tables and grills available for visitors to enjoy a meal or snack during their visit.

5. Drinking Water: There are water fountains and hydration stations available at the Jones Gap State Park Visitor Center and along the trail for hikers to refill their water bottles.

6. Trail Maps: Trail maps and information are available at the Jones Gap State Park Visitor Center to help visitors navigate the trail and plan their hike.

7. Interpretive Signage: Along the trail, there are interpretive signs that provide information about the natural and cultural history of the area.

8. Benches: There are benches placed at various points along the trail, providing hikers with resting spots and scenic viewpoints.

9. Trash Receptacles: Trash cans are available at the trailhead and throughout the park to help keep the area clean and litter-free.

10. Ranger Station: There is a ranger station located at the Jones Gap State Park Visitor Center, where visitors can seek assistance, information, and guidance from park staff.

Please note that amenities may be subject to change or seasonal availability, so it is always recommended to check with the park authorities for the most up-to-date information.

Nearby Services

1. Jones Gap State Park Campground – Campground located within Jones Gap State Park, offering tent and RV sites.
2. Caesars Head State Park – Nearby state park with camping, hiking trails, and scenic overlooks.
3. Hotel Domestique – Upscale hotel located nearby, offering luxurious accommodations and a restaurant.
4. Table Rock State Park – State park with camping, cabins, and hiking trails, including the popular Table Rock Mountain trail.
5. Mountain Inn & Suites – Hotel located in nearby Travelers Rest, offering comfortable rooms and amenities.
6. Subway – Fast-food chain restaurant located in Travelers Rest, serving sandwiches and salads.
7. Ingles Market – Grocery store located in Travelers Rest, providing food and supplies.
8. Greenville Memorial Hospital – Nearby hospital offering emergency medical services.
9. Walgreens – Pharmacy located in Travelers Rest, providing medication and health supplies.
10. Travelers Rest Police Department – Local police department providing emergency services and assistance.

Jones Gap Trail Difficulty Notes

The Jones Gap Trail, located in South Carolina’s Jones Gap State Park, offers a moderate to challenging difficulty level for hikers. Spanning approximately 5.3 miles, the trail presents a variety of terrains and elevation changes, making it suitable for experienced hikers seeking a more strenuous adventure. The trail features rocky sections, stream crossings, and steep ascents, requiring a certain level of physical fitness and agility. However, the breathtaking views of waterfalls, lush forests, and the peacefulness of the surrounding nature make the effort well worth it for those seeking a rewarding and challenging hiking experience.

Features And Attractions

The Jones Gap Trail is a beautiful hiking trail located in South Carolina, USA. Along the trail, you can find various scenic views, historical sites, natural landmarks, and more. Here are some notable points of interest along the Jones Gap Trail:

1. Jones Gap Falls: This stunning waterfall is located near the trailhead and is a popular spot for visitors to enjoy the cascading water and surrounding natural beauty.

2. Rainbow Falls: Another impressive waterfall along the trail, Rainbow Falls is known for its 100-foot drop and the rainbow that often appears in the mist.

3. Middle Saluda River: The trail follows the Middle Saluda River for a significant portion, offering picturesque views of the river and its surrounding forested areas.

4. Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area: The Jones Gap Trail is part of the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area, which is known for its diverse plant and animal life, including rare species.

5. Pinnacle Pass: This section of the trail offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, making it a favorite spot for photographers and nature enthusiasts.

6. Historic Sites: While the trail itself doesn’t have specific historical sites, the area surrounding Jones Gap is rich in history. Nearby landmarks include old mills, homesteads, and remnants of the region’s past.

7. Wildlife: The trail provides opportunities to spot various wildlife species, including deer, black bears, wild turkeys, and a variety of bird species.

8. Foothills Trail Connection: The Jones Gap Trail connects with the Foothills Trail, a long-distance hiking trail that spans over 77 miles through the scenic foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.

These are just a few examples of the scenic views, historical sites, natural landmarks, and other attractions you can encounter along the Jones Gap Trail. Exploring the trail will provide you with a memorable outdoor experience in the beautiful South Carolina wilderness.

Usage Guidelines

1. Pets are allowed on the Jones Gap Trail but must be kept on a leash at all times.
2. Camping is not permitted along the trail or in the Jones Gap State Park.
3. Hunting or trapping is strictly prohibited within the park boundaries.
4. The trail is open year-round, but certain sections may be closed temporarily due to maintenance or hazardous conditions.
5. Visitors are advised to check for any seasonal restrictions or closures before planning their hike.
6. Littering is strictly prohibited. Visitors are expected to carry out all trash and dispose of it properly.
7. Fires are only allowed in designated fire rings or grills within the designated camping areas.
8. Bicycles and motorized vehicles are not allowed on the Jones Gap Trail.
9. Visitors are encouraged to stay on the marked trail and not venture off into restricted areas.
10. Fishing is allowed in designated areas, but a valid South Carolina fishing license is required.
11. Visitors are advised to bring plenty of water and appropriate gear for their hike, as there are no water sources along the trail.
12. Overnight camping is only allowed in designated camping areas within the park.
13. Visitors are expected to respect the natural environment and wildlife, refraining from disturbing or feeding any animals encountered.
14. Alcohol consumption is prohibited on the Jones Gap Trail and within the park boundaries.
15. Visitors are encouraged to practice Leave No Trace principles, including packing out all trash, minimizing campfire impacts, and respecting wildlife and other visitors.

Seasonal Information

The Jones Gap Trail, located in the beautiful Jones Gap State Park in South Carolina, offers a stunning outdoor experience throughout the year. Each season brings its own unique charm and activities, making it a year-round destination for nature enthusiasts.

One of the best times to visit the Jones Gap Trail is during the spring season, from March to May. During this time, the park comes alive with vibrant wildflowers, blooming rhododendrons, and cascading waterfalls. The weather is generally pleasant, with mild temperatures and lower humidity, making it ideal for hiking and exploring the trail. Spring also offers the opportunity to spot various wildlife, including deer, black bears, and a variety of bird species.

Summer, from June to August, is another popular time to visit the Jones Gap Trail. The dense foliage provides ample shade, creating a cool and refreshing environment for outdoor activities. The trail offers several swimming holes and waterfalls, providing a perfect escape from the summer heat. However, it is important to note that summer can be busier, especially on weekends, so planning your visit accordingly is recommended.

Autumn, from September to November, is arguably the most picturesque time to explore the Jones Gap Trail. The surrounding forests transform into a kaleidoscope of vibrant colors as the leaves change, creating a breathtaking backdrop for hikers. The cooler temperatures and lower humidity make it an ideal time for longer hikes and backpacking trips. Fall also offers the opportunity to witness the annual migration of birds, adding to the overall experience.

It is important to note that the Jones Gap Trail may have seasonal closures or restrictions due to weather conditions or maintenance. During winter, from December to February, the trail may experience closures or limited access due to snow and ice. It is advisable to check with the park authorities or visit their website for the most up-to-date information on trail conditions and closures.

Overall, the Jones Gap Trail offers a year-round outdoor experience, each season bringing its own unique beauty and activities. Whether you prefer the vibrant colors of autumn, the blooming flowers of spring, or the refreshing swimming holes of summer, there is something for everyone to enjoy along this picturesque trail.


1. Wheelchair Accessibility: The Jones Gap Trail is not wheelchair accessible due to its rugged terrain and natural obstacles.
2. ADA Parking: Designated accessible parking spaces are available at the trailhead for visitors with disabilities.
3. Accessible Restrooms: Accessible restrooms are provided at the trailhead for individuals with mobility challenges.
4. Trail Surface: The trail surface is primarily natural terrain, which may be challenging for wheelchair users or individuals with mobility impairments.
5. Trail Width: The trail width varies throughout the trail, and it may not meet ADA standards for wheelchair accessibility in certain sections.
6. Trail Grade: The trail includes steep sections and uneven terrain, making it difficult for individuals with mobility limitations.
7. Trail Obstacles: The trail may have fallen trees, rocks, or other natural obstacles that can hinder accessibility for individuals with disabilities.
8. Trail Length: The Jones Gap Trail is approximately 5.3 miles long, which may be challenging for individuals with limited mobility.
9. Alternative Accessible Trails: While the Jones Gap Trail may not be fully accessible, there may be alternative accessible trails or areas nearby that cater to individuals with disabilities.
10. Accessibility Information: It is recommended to contact the park or trail management for detailed accessibility information and to inquire about any available accommodations for visitors with disabilities.

Safety Information

1. Trail Difficulty: The Jones Gap Trail is a moderately difficult trail with some steep sections and uneven terrain, requiring proper hiking footwear and physical fitness.
2. Weather Awareness: Be prepared for changing weather conditions, as the trail is located in a mountainous area where temperatures and weather patterns can vary.
3. Trail Markings: Follow the trail markers and signs to stay on the designated path and avoid getting lost.
4. Water Sources: Carry enough water or a water filtration system, as there are limited water sources along the trail.
5. Wildlife Encounter: Be cautious of potential encounters with wildlife, including black bears, snakes, and insects, and maintain a safe distance.
6. Tick Prevention: Apply insect repellent and wear long sleeves and pants to protect against ticks, which are prevalent in the area.
7. Poisonous Plants: Familiarize yourself with poisonous plants like poison ivy and poison oak, and avoid contact to prevent allergic reactions.
8. Emergency Contacts: Carry a fully charged cell phone and know the emergency contact numbers for the park or local authorities.
9. Hiking Buddy: It is recommended to hike with a partner or in a group for safety and assistance in case of emergencies.
10. Leave No Trace: Practice Leave No Trace principles by packing out all trash, minimizing impact on the environment, and respecting wildlife and other hikers.

Conservation Notes

The Jones Gap Trail, located in the Jones Gap State Park in South Carolina, is a significant natural resource that requires conservation efforts to maintain its ecological integrity. As a designated National Recreation Trail, the conservation status of the Jones Gap Trail is of utmost importance to protect its unique biodiversity and natural features.

The trail traverses through diverse ecosystems, including lush forests, cascading waterfalls, and rocky outcrops, providing habitat for a wide range of plant and animal species. The conservation status of the Jones Gap Trail is considered to be relatively stable, thanks to the efforts of park management and conservation organizations. However, ongoing monitoring and conservation measures are necessary to ensure the long-term sustainability of this natural resource.

Conservation efforts for the Jones Gap Trail primarily focus on preserving the delicate balance of its ecosystems and protecting the native flora and fauna. This involves implementing measures to prevent habitat degradation, controlling invasive species, and managing visitor impact. Additionally, park authorities work closely with local communities and organizations to raise awareness about the importance of conservation and promote responsible recreational activities along the trail. By maintaining the conservation status of the Jones Gap Trail, future generations can continue to enjoy its natural beauty and ecological significance.

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