Rim of the Gap - Pinnacle Pass loop

HARD 38 reviews

Rim of the Gap - Pinnacle Pass loop is a 8.5 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Marietta, South Carolina that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, birding, and fishing and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

8.5 miles
2139 feet

dog friendly









wild flowers

This trail starts out on the Jones Gap trail and quickly exits onto the Rim of the Gap Trail. There is good trout fishing and campsites along the river if your interested in several good day hikes. Head West on the rim trail, this is almost all uphill until you reach the 6/22 connector trail. Go left towards Pinnacle Pass trail. Take another left onto Pinnacle Pass. This is generally a ridge walk to a magnificent rock outcrop that provides a great rest spot before the steep descent to the trailhead. Along the way you will see numerous picturesque streams and falls along with massive boulder and rock formations. The fauna here is extremely diverse at time resembling a tropical rainforest. This is a great day hike. Someone in average physical condition should have a great time.

2 months ago

gorgeous but ABSOLUTELY NOT FOR DOGS with multiple ladders including a 10ft straight vertical... quite a bit of rock scrambling and crossing over multiple slick ‘waterfalls’... especially difficult with wet leaves in fall... take your trekking poles, a small daypack & a trail buddy and you’ll totally enjoy the challenge!

2 months ago

gorgeous but ABSOLUTELY NOT FOR DOGS with multiple ladders including a 10ft straight vertical... quite a bit of rock scrambling and crossing over multiple slick ‘waterfalls’... especially difficult with wet leaves in fall... take your trekking poles, a small daypack & a trail buddy and you’ll totally enjoy the challenge!

5 months ago

One of my favorite trails. I've done it many times. It's hard but very adventurous. It's usually closed but.... nothing dangerous. I take my dogs..just be prepared to carry them down a latter.

5 months ago

The first part on the Blue markers was great...
The yellow marker trail was a poorly designed trail, and easy to lose your way. The trail was not well taken care of with lots of thorns, brush, and low hanging branches as well as drainage issues throughout its travel. It was also lacking in lookouts when you reach the strenuous hike to the top of the ridge. I would advise to avoid yellow trail in JGSP.
Notes: Actual miles was close to 11 miles. 7 hours hike with children.

6 months ago

Nice trail that up top runs adjacent to some high cliffs. Many of these have light streams which in or after rain would be amazing waterfalls. Fun to climb on and explore. There really is only one good overlook or view but still a good trip. The section along the Middle Saluda River is also nice. Definitely recommend bringing a map.

7 months ago

like every hike in Caesars Head very challenging beautiful views

7 months ago

This is definitely a hikers hike, as previously mentioned. It was very challenging and a great climb (starting with pinnacle pass and going to rim of the gap), but the reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 is because there was literally not one rewarding overlook or view. Yes, when you get to the highest point of elevation, you can kind of see through the trees, and it's a nice view, but there are definitely no 'holy shit' moments where you're thinking 'this was worth every bit of difficulty' ... then again, I have high expectations for hikes that are this hard. Overall, I would definitely hike this again, but solely for the difficulty, probably try out the whole pinnacle pass trail next time instead of taking the connector back to rim of the gap. This park is amazingly beautiful, and the trail map is worth the buy. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a challenge, but just know there won't be any overlooks from the top.

11 months ago

Definitely a challenge, go prepared for a great hike

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

I was looking for a challenge, and this was it! I wouldn't attempt this without a trail map, it can get a little confusing with all the connectors. Toughest hike in South Carolina so far!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Combining several trails to make a loop can be a challenge for a new comer.The arrangement, Rim of the Gap with Pinnacle Pass Trail ( and other trails) requires a good reading of the trail map and constant vigilance to the markers. Carrying a map with you is highly recommended. This being said this serious loop can test you to the limit and gives you a great sense of satisfaction. I have made the hike several times with a 20lbs back-pack (something not recommended for beginners) in about 4 hours. The steep Pinnacle Pass Trail section, specially if you select to include it at the beginning of the hike, is more an obstacle course than a trail for a casual walk. It is just as treacherous when you go downhill , but obviously less tiring! There are few great views but the one of the Gap, afforded from the rock outcrop on #20 trail, is spectacular: you'll see the diminutive shape of Pretty Place Chapel from there.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Amazing hike but tough. Many difficult climbs. We went counter clockwise and while the descent on Pinnacle Pass was tough, we were glad we took Rim of the Gap first as it was an long steady climb up to top.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

This is a hikers hike. I wouldn't recommend it for anyone who isn't looking for a challenge. I actually recorded this loop as a full 10 miles from the parking lot. The Rim of the Gap trail is a bit tricky. The trail is well marked but some spots you will actually question if that really is the trail. You cross a number of mountain creeks and a couple spots you're actually hiking up a creek, so it can get wet and slippery. I could see this being difficult for a dog because there are a number of ladders and the trail gets really tight in more than a few spots. The views could be better. If you're looking to push yourself this will be right up your alley.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

The Rim of the Gap trail isn't for the novice or beginner. The uphill leg will wear you out if you're not used to a moderately difficult hike. The Rim of the Gap section is pretty well marked by yellow blazes, but like others have said, it's not hard to lose the trail at points. Some of the switchbacks aren't marked great and you can miss them. I'd avoid this trail if there have been heavy rains. It was clear that some of the waterfalls get pretty big and wash across the trail. If you're looking for a workout, this is a good hike. But if you're looking for views, might be good to choose a different trail.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Awesome hike, but definitely not dog friendly unless your dog can climb ladders! This is one of my personal favorites. At times the trail is hard to find. If you find your self saying "oh my! I have to jump that water flow and risk a 500 ft fall info don't make it across to stay on the trail!" Look around, there is probably a switchback you missed that avoids the deadly jump.

cross country skiing
Saturday, September 19, 2015

Moderately challenging hike, but not much to see.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Just did this one for the first time. Overlook on Pinnacle Pass is well worth the difficult climb. The ranger advised us to do the Pinnacle Pass leg first and return on Rim of the Gap and he was right.

Monday, November 10, 2014

This is a beautiful trail and can be combined for an almost 12 mile loop - definitely for experienced hikers as there are several sustained climbs, rocks/boulders to climb up and down. The rock formations, creeks, Saluda River and other natural scenic areas are very nice. Dress accordingly, when you get on the 'other' side of the mountain out of the sun it gets chilly. Bring food and water. Mainly, enjoy! Hike on!

Thursday, July 03, 2014

This trail is definitely for an experienced hiker. At some points it felt like the trail would never end. However, there were some GORGEOUS views & it was definitely worth it. I would recommend bringing some bug spray as there were a lot of large, flying bugs.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Hike this trail this morning. Great views on Pinnacle, but a fairly tough hike to get there. Some fall color.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

I recommend the clockwise route (Pinnacle Pass trail up, returning on Rim of the Gap trail). The Pinnacle Pass trail is challenging, but would be even more so going down in my opinion. The elevation gain is steep in sections.

I love this loop and so does our lab/boxer, Sadie. It's a great workout and the view from the ridge is worth the hike! Much of the hike on the ridge gives a view to the south, but less than a mile up trail (after you reach the ridge on the clockwise trek) a quick right turn of the trail takes you to a breathtaking overlook that faces north across the Middle Saluda valley and the Jones Gap ranger station area.

Further up the trail, bypassing the #22 connector trail (which is easy to miss if you're not paying attention) adds an easy ~1.8 miles to the walk if you connect via the John Sloan trail instead. This also takes you past the one camp site on Pinnacle Pass (P-001) if you're interested in overnighting. P-001 is almost halfway between the #22 connector trail and the John Sloan trail. No fires are permitted at this site and it sits on top of a spur, which can get very windy. Nice jumping off point for further trail exploration, though.

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