Plunging waterfalls, rugged river gorges, sheer rock walls and one of the greatest concentrations of rare and unique species in the eastern United States are found within Gorges State Park. An elevation that rises 2,000 feet in only four miles, combined with rainfall in excess of 80 inches per year, creates a temperate rain forest and supports a collection of waterfalls. On April 29, 1999, thanks to a unique partnership of industry, the environmental community and the state of North Carolina, 10,000 acres of the Jocassee Gorges in Transylvania County were placed in public ownership to be preserved for future generations of North Carolinians. The property was purchased by the state from Duke Energy Corporation, and the transaction created a 2,900-acre gameland managed by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. Currently, Gorges encompasses nearly 7,500 acres and is the only state park west of Asheville. Because Gorges State Park is so new, the park is still in its planning and development phase. Currently, the park staff is working with local citizens, the park's advisory committee and design and engineering contractors to develop permanent facilities. The road and infrastructure project, begun in the Spring of 2007 affects use at the Grassy Ridge Access. Visitors wishing to visit this area are encouraged to call the park office before visiting for current park conditions.

One of our favorites. Easy hike with a lot of gorgeous falls.

This trail is definitely all about the destination not the journey. Campsites and scenery on Jocassee are Tops. The trail is mostly unimproved core access so tons of large granite gravel that want to break your ankles. Worth the trip and we’ll be doing it again. Not too many campsites 5 miles in on Jocassee that have picnic tables and fire pits.

The trail runs between the visitor center and the picnic area, with most of the elevation change (what little there is) between the overlook and the picnic area. The view from the overlook of the distant lakes and mountains is pretty and worth the short hike. However, the nearby lines detract somewhat from the atmosphere.

This is a short hike from the picnic area down a somewhat steep and well maintained trail to a viewing platform. The view is nice, but Bearwallow Falls itself is not that impressive, especially given the distance from the end of the trail.

3 months ago

My hike from the visitor center included both Bearwallow Overlook and Bearwallow Falls. Despite lower expectations, I was still disappointed after hiking to Rainbow and Turtleback Falls earlier in the day. While the view from the overlook is pretty, it is hindered by the lines overhead. And the distant view of the falls, after the short hike down to the viewing platform, was not that inspiring. With so many beautiful waterfalls in the area, this trail left a little more to be desired.

I reviewed this with the Horsepasture Trail. We did the mile hike from visitor center. There's a parking area and picnic shelter even closer. Easy and short, just didn't get great view of the lower part of falls, which would have made it prettier I'm sure. Ok for a little short excursion.

4 months ago

Great hike from the Frozen Creek Access. Moderate especially when carrying a 40 lb. pack but enjoyable none the less. Camped for two nights with beautiful weather. Be on the lookout for copper heads as I almost stepped on one. Will be coming back.

I'd say easy to moderate as Trail is well maintained and easy to walk. Hike up is more moderate.

I began this hike from the frozen creek access. 5 miles through the beautiful woods and then 5 miles back going uphill so make sure you allow the time. For the most part it is all downhill. Once you get to the bottom of lake jocasse there will be a bridge that takes you to the lake and to a few different campsites. I was lucky enough to have the lake all to myself. Will be doing this hike again in the fall! Just beautiful.

Hiked this trail as an access to the Foothills trail. Was a great hike all the way to Lake Jocassee. We didn't hike it back having through hiked to Badcreek. If you do be prepared. It will be all uphill. From the lake it's 19.2 miles to Badcreek but be prepared if you wanna do that one. It's long and tough. Very worth the hike though.

7 months ago

Very easy walk down to the overlook for Bearwallow Falls. We remarked that the signage throughout Gorges State Park leaves something to be desired, but otherwise the park is attractive.

short and steep

9 months ago

This is a wide, well-maintained trail that extends 5 miles from Frozen Creek access to the Toxaway River at Lake Jocassee. The first mile has a lot of large gravel stones that make the hike a little slower than it could be. The grade is almost all downhill on the way to the lake, so the journey there is much easier than the return. I made this hike with a heavy pack, and I was hurting on the steady uphill return the next day. It was also very humid under the forest canopy, so I would highly recommend more than one bottle of water as you leave Lake Jocassee. During the week, this trail sees very little use. In 2 days, I saw only one group on the trail. It's was a very serene and peaceful trip, and I would recommend it!

Bearwallow Overlook is another must when you are in Gorges State Park. This trailhead is right on the other side of the parking lot from the Upper Bearwallow Falls Trail. This trail is a bit longer and the elevation change is more gradual than the falls trail. This hike ends with a beautiful view of the mountains with lakes as far as you can see. This is another quick hike that is very child friendly.

11 months ago

The Bearwallow falls trails has changed a bit in recent past. The trail has been shortened to just over 0.4 miles. This is a quick hike with a beautiful view. The trip to the falls has a steady declined slope and since it is a there and back trip, your return hike is all up hill. Since the hike is short though it isn't to tough. If you are in Gorges State Park this is a must. It took my family about 30 minutes to complete with a 4 year old hiking and a 3 year old on my back.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Trail wasnt scenic, but very well marked. The campsites at the end was full from boaters, but it was very easy to find a beautiful place to hang a hammock and enjoy the gorgeous scenery.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

The hike wasn't impressive, but the view on the lake is amazing. This is a top hike. Easy, but beautiful!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

This one is off of Frozen Creek Road. The first two miles aren't that scenic or pleasant; there's a lot of big gravel stones to walk over on the logging road. As you keep going downhill, it gets more interesting and woodsy. The reward is getting down to the lake. It took me an hour and forty to go down, but it took 2 hours and 30 minutes to get back up. I was tired by the time I reached the lake and it was slow going going back up.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The start isn't great but treat it as a warmup. GPS nav might throw you off from the parking area so look for a sign to gorges state park when you're on frozen creek rd. seems no one comes here, we were the only people from 10am to 5pm on the weekend. It's so worth the walk for a peaceful lunch by the lake and river rapids. Connects to other trails too to go around the lake.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

This is a review of the Bearwallow Falls overlook trail, which probably is somewhat different from the lower Bearwallow Falls trail, and is currently being updated inside Gorges State Park. The new visitor center opens in August. This overlook trail is about a third of a mile one way and leads to a platform overlooking Bearwallow Falls. The view is not that impressive and the hike takes all of 15 minutes, is a walk down and a climb up; there are nice benches along the way for those out of shape. Overall, this should be connected to the Lower Falls trail and I think that is what Gorges has in mind, as they are still developing it. The other trail to Rainbow and Turtleback Falls is much better and more rewarding, although a four mile RT. As for my recommendation, the view is nice, there is a nice platform with benches at the overlook, but don't waste your time if you are up for more challenging and rewarding hikes.

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