Getting to the Trail
The trail is located in Jones Gap State Park. In the upstate, take Hwy 11 towards Table Rock State Park and make a right onto River Falls Rd., this will take you straight to the park.
The Hike -- Jones Gap Trail to Rainbow Falls Trail and back
Jones Gap State Park -- South Carolina -- December 26th, 2011
I went to Jones Gap State Park today, intending to do part of the Jones Gap trail and return; however upon my arrival and looking at the park map, I noticed Rainbow Falls Trail which was the perfect distance for a short hike. I once again had Ava, my boxer, with me. The hike according to my GPS was 2.14 miles one way, and took about 1:19, including many stops for picture taking and a few conversations. There was moderate traffic on the trail, but only foot traffic is allowed.
The trail starts out a short walk from the parking area. It has been raining a good bit lately, and early on the path, as it lies in a valley, was wet and soggy, but not to the point of making it difficult.
The first part is mainly flat, with a few river crossings.
You reach a narrow bridge (not pictured) that on the way up I walked across while Ava walked through the stream, I am proud to say that upon the return, she cautiously walked across the narrow bridge.
Getting further up the trail, after the Jones Gap/Rainbow Falls trail split, the hike got much more enjoyable. (Jones Gap uses blue hashes, RF uses red hashes)
I wasn’t expecting anything great but this hike really impressed me and I look forward to returning. There were some great rock features the whole way up and some great views. Also, there are many streams and the sound of water flowing could be heard nearly the whole time.
The trail has some good climbing with a total ascent of 1,171 feet. Nothing too steep but enjoyable climbing on the way up.
The real prize is the end of the trail when you arrive at Rainbow Falls. Because we have had a good amount of rain, the falls had an above average flow (according to someone who has hiked up many times). This made the falls, which I guess were above 100’, a real treat. There are some nice rocks to enjoy a meal while you watch the falls.
This would be a great hike for kids, I saw many along the way. Anyone that is comfortable on their feet should be able to do this, although it may be considered moderate/strenuous for non hikers, I felt great, even jogging part of the way down.
Stats from GPS (note info is for one way only)
Name: Jones Gap - Rainbow Falls
Date: Dec 26, 2011 11:32 am
(valid until Jun 23, 2012) View on Map
Distance: 2.14 miles
Elapsed Time: 1:19:45
Avg Speed: 1.6 mph
Max Speed: 6.9 mph
Avg Pace: 37' 12" per mile
Min Altitude: 1,339 ft
Max Altitude: 2,425 ft
Start Time: 2011-12-26T16:32:41Z
Latitude: 35.125243º N
Longitude: 82.574352º W
Latitude: 35.133390º N
Longitude: 82.587786º W
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