After spending months at home we were ready for a mini adventure. The South Carolina State parks system has proven, once again, to be a wonderful outlet for our family. Even during this strange quarantine/lockdown time of the global pandemic we have been afforded the opportunity for a mini adventure. Getting outdoors and enjoying nature together as a family is who we are.
Located about 2.5 hours drive from our home is Jones Gap State Park in the upstate of South Carolina, approximately 25 miles North West of Greenville, SC. We planned this particular daytrip with NO stops and we packed a picnic lunch and snacks to take with us. If there is not a global pandemic causing everything to be shut down you should plan a wonderful morning or afternoon inside the park and lunch or dinner in downtown Greenville, which would be ideal. There are campsites available via reservation, but not every campsite allows fires so plan accordingly.
Jones Gap State Park is an incredibly well maintained park with beautiful shaded trails alongside the ambling Middle Saluda river. If you have the legs and the time we highly encourage you to do the 4 mile roundtrip hike up to Rainbow Falls. You will be in the forest with shade the entire time, although you will traverse some steep sections with steps. We had our pup with us and he was leading the way with such excitement that we made it to the top in less than 2 hours. We were huffing and puffing all the way up, but were able to relax and snack a the falls. The falls were running really good due to recent rains so we weren’t able to go across them to the other side which was a bummer for our oldest who loves to explore on his own in nature. We spent about 30 minutes at the falls taking pictures, eating snacks and climbing around reveling in the beauty of the nature around us. We had the falls to ourselves because the park system was regulating entrance into the park, but this is a very popular hike typically with lots of visitors enjoying the outdoors.
The visitors center is a lovely log cabin where you can get trail information, check in for your campsite or get a souvenir from your mini adventure. Here are a few quick facts for your reference, but we highly recommend you checking out their fabulous website for more thorough information.
- 18 Campsites
- 60 miles of trails
- $6 entry for adults, $3.75 for seniors, $3.50 for children 6-15, FREE for children under 5
- pets allowed ON a leash at all times
- under COVID regulations, parking reservations are required Friday, Saturday, Sunday for $5
- under COVID regulations, park hours are limited to 9 am – 6 pm.