Rim of the Gap Trail to Jones Gap Trail

HARD 46 reviews

Rim of the Gap Trail to Jones Gap Trail is a 11.9 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Cleveland, South Carolina that features a waterfall and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
11.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3,375 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

backpacking

birding

camping

fishing

hiking

trail running

walking

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

scramble

10 days ago

awesome hike!!!! not for the inexperienced

18 days ago

Rim trial is very narrow, some places almost non existent. Lots of rocky river bed trail on Jones Gap. Do not recommend taking dogs on this loop. a few ladders to climb.

hiking
3 months ago

Great trail, but as several others have commented, the yellow blazes on the gap rim trail are spaced out too far in some key places. I ended up lost for over an hour scrabbling over the spidertrails (clearly I wasn’t the first to be lost on this section). With the lost time, I had some scary moments trying to get over the last technical bits with dark falling and in the rain, but the last 3-ish miles are pretty easy going (much like the Jones Gap trail).

The technical section only covers about 2mi (maybe less even, without the extra “detours” I took) and the section right before you meet the purple trail is absolutely gorgeous. Worth the trip. Take poles for sure, and strongly recommend even for day hike to take a mini bivvy kit and lights in case you end up lost/stuck (the trees are dense and I started using my light well before sundown due to cloud cover+trees).

5 months ago

Great trail. It is technical but if you’re a strong hiker you’ll be fine. Having done it both ways I prefer to do it clockwise. This leaves the most technical bit of ROG for the end but you do much of the return claim early in the return rather than the end. Pick your poison. The spur to rainbow falls is worth it if you have time and can stand the additional elevation. A bit about gear, not specific to this trail — consider using hiking poles and trading in your hiking boots for a lightweight trail runner with great tread and grip. Changes like this will make all the difference on a trail like this.

hiking
5 months ago

Okay... okay..... The reviews here really threw me off. I was hiking with my friend, we went through jones gap trail and rainbow falls no problem, then we get on rim of the gap trail... The paint job on the rim of the gap trees is terrible. It was responsible for throwing off our group, and the absolute worst pain imaginable in my lower body, literally can't move right now. More yellow markers need to be placed on rim of the gap. I'll never be hiking it again as it's dangerous if you're on mile 20 of the hike and you have no idea where you are. We got out at 8:55PM, it was pitch black. My recommendation: if you attempt this trail after 15 miles and you're not experienced, bring tequila and a notebook to write your will on. Also, Jones Gap is beautiful, Rim of the gap doesn't really offer any views.

6 months ago

spectacular. stunning. fearful. extremely difficult. 12 miles including the connectors. allow 7 hours. easy to get lost or take a tumble. i did both.loved it. quite a challenge.

9 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!

hiking
11 months ago

Very closed in, technical, no views, some spots very poorly blazed.

hiking
Monday, September 11, 2017

Good hike for exercise but no good lookouts / vantage points along the trail. First 2-3 miles were technical and fun but the remainder of the hike was lackluster.

Took about 6 hours to complete, which included a quick dip in the river and lunch.

hiking
Thursday, August 31, 2017

Listen up: Rim of the Gap is rated hard because it's a tough trail, even for experienced hikers. Rugged, narrow trails with steep switchbacks, boulders to scramble, ladders, elevation changes, etc. Allow yourself plenty of time to push through the very technical 5.3 miles.

If you hike Falls Trail AND Rim of the Gap, you'll definitely feel it the next day.

hiking
Sunday, August 20, 2017

I wouldn't say it's a hard trail, but she sure is technical. Not a hike if you like epic views, but definitely a hike for hikers (trail is beautiful).

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Great trail, to make it a bit more intense start at Jones Gap and hike up to Caesar.

trail running
Saturday, June 03, 2017

such a fun trail... first 4km is hard and takes about an hour... lots of waterfalls and river crossings.. Rainbow waterfall is really cool.. takes me 3hr 15min to run/hike it

hiking
Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Fantastic trail. We started at Jones Gap parking, looped up to Jones Gap Falls, then looped around to the Rim trail. Almost constant elevation change for much of the loop, but very enjoyable climb on natural terrain. Trail was very wet as it is spring and there are streams and waterfalls everywhere. The last mile or two descending back to the parking lot did seem to take forever as it is very gradual and much easier than the previous miles.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

As advertised when it comes to difficulty. Didn't find it to be as adventurous or death-defying as I thought it might be. We parked in Mountain Bridge lot and took connector trails to it. First two miles of RoG were slow and technical. Last 2 were easy and all downhill. Looped back on Jones Gap and Bill Kimball. Ole Bill was 2 miles of uphill abuse! Would choose a different return next time but all must ascend rather steeply out of river valley so it probably doesn't matter which you take. 11 miles took nearly 7 hours due to RoG and BK terrain. This loop is not for the ill prepared. Nevertheless it's always a good day to enjoy God's creation with your son.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Amazing trail. It nearly took everything out of me. Loved every minute. It was also nerve wracking and a little scary. Neither for the faint of heart nor the uninitiated. About 2 miles in, coming from the Caesar's head visitor's center, I had to stop and refocus, away from my fear and onto the fun. The trail is narrow, and extremely narrow in some spots. The sheer drops off the trail are indescribable. If there had been a way out, I may have taken it, but I was with an excellent guide, my husband, who knew my experience and ability, and he got me through it. The climb out of the gap, from blue to orange, to blue connector, to purple back to the visitors center was challenging. Am I glad I did it? Yes. My gps logged 11 miles on this loop. It took us 7 hrs with only 15 minutes for lunch.

hiking
Tuesday, January 03, 2017

We sorely underestimated the difficulty of this hike. It was exhausting - constant elevation changes, climbing over roots, scrambling over rocks, navigating narrow ledges with steep drop offs. This loop took us over 7 hours. The challenge made it really fun - like an obstacle course/hike combo. Be prepared if you take on this one!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Very fun trail! Lots of stream crossing, waterfalls.. pretty technical first 4km.. beautiful trail!

Monday, November 07, 2016

This is a very difficult trail and requires attentiveness to blazes. Lost the trail a few times and had to backtrack and find blazes. Very difficult terrain, too. But it is definitely worth it if you like to hike and are in pretty good shape. Part of the loop has some amazing waterfalls if you venture down to the stream (50 yards off the trail) at some places, and there are some good views every now and again on the actual rim of the gap trail. Would definitely reccomend, but be careful!

hiking
Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Difficult, but worth it!!!

hiking
Wednesday, June 15, 2016

I LOVE this hike!! It's a ton of fun and certainly keeps you on your toes. This is a very rugged trail with a lot of scrambling over rocks and roots and down hills and up ladders, etc. I would definitely recommend having a good bit of hiking experience on strenuous trails before attempting this one as it could be potentially dangerous to a less experienced hiker. There are many spots where the trail is very narrow and right at the edge of a steep hill. Besides that, I think it's a great, diverse trail. The first part is pretty moderate (if you're heading out from Jones Gap) with just some gradual uphill but once you pass the John Sloan Trail intersection, in turns into quite a beast. From previous reviews, it sounds like most people do a loop with several other trails in the area rather than an out and back trip. We did the loop (#6 - #15 - #7 - #3 - #1, if looking at the area trail map) and it took us around 5 hours or so to complete with a total distance of what we were estimating was about 9.5 to 10 miles.

hiking
Wednesday, February 03, 2016

This trail is not for the faint of heart or the novice hiker. It is a raw, balls-to-the-wall, potentially dangerous dance with the elements that will challenge even the fittest hiker, and you will quickly find out what I mean when you get in to it a little ways.
That said, this trail offers beautiful views of the gap in winter...my favorite time to go. There are technical aides in place to help you along (ladders, ropes), but there are also places where the trail runs along the rim with sheer drops mere inches away, so you have to be smart and alert and safe. You will not encounter a lot of traffic on this trail because it is too difficult for the average hiker, and for whatever reason, people seem to know this.
The entire trail is not super hard, but for the portions that are, be ready to work because it truly is a handful. All the more reason to feel good once you have hiked it.
Enjoy!

hiking
Monday, January 04, 2016

This was a beast of a day hike. Our route was Jones Gap Trail to Coldspring Branch Trail to Coldspring Connector Trail to Frank Coggins Trail to Rim of the Gap Trail to Jones Gap. We went counter-clockwise and started out at the trailhead near the park office in Jones Gap. The Jones Gap trail is well graded and wide with a gradual uphill slope. The Coldspring Branch portion was well-graded with a gradual uphill slope - there were several water crossings which wouldn't be too hard to navigate under normal conditions, but South Carolina had just experienced historical rain events in early/mid October so streams and creeks were flowing full. The Coldspring Connector portion was a fairly steep climb in portions but the trail was well marked and graded. The Frank Coggins portion was well graded and nothing too difficult. Walking through the forest is great, but there aren't any vistas to take in - that being said, we absolutely loved the peaceful walk through the forest and only came across four other people. The Frank Coggins portion brings you to the top of a picturesque waterfall which is a great break location before tackling the Rim of the Gap. We were in the 2 - 2.5 MPH range until we reached the Rim of the Gap portion - after about the 4.0 mile marker, we were reduced to a slow crawl (probably averaged 0.5 MPH) for about 1.5 - 1.75 miles. We then popped back onto well graded trails and were cruising along for the rest of the trail.

Regarding those 1.5 - 1.75 miles near the start of the Rim of the Gap Trail (if working counter-clockwise on the loop) - they were terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. It offered was incredible views of the gap. There were some incredible rock features. We went across a cliff or two. There was some scrambling. It is very intense - particularly if you weren't expecting it. Definitely not the place for any small kids. I concur with the other reviews that this section of the trail isn't for beginners

Sunday, May 17, 2015

This is definitely what I was looking for. A hard as hell hike with water falls around every corner. We were wanting something challenging and this was it. Ladders, ledges, and lots of climbing. The first mile and a half is relatively easy - lots of uphill but smooth trail. After that it's very difficult. Like others said, there are places where you literally can fall off - there are no rails. You have to cross slick waterfalls and pray you don't slip. We took our dogs with us and they behaved very well but there were many times where we had to make them wait so we could climb down an eight foot drop to help them down. Would recommend a very heavy duty dog harness. That was our saving grace. All and all a very hard but rewarding hike. If you're gonna do the loop then I recommend doing Rim of the Gap FIRST and then taking the connector trails to the Jones Gap trail. Coming the other way would be impossible. Happy hiking!!

hiking
Monday, April 13, 2015

Great trail...first mile and half are relatively easy upwards from jones gap state park. it is when you make the turn downwards beside the face of the mountain where it gets very difficult and.muddy! Had so much fun but wasn't going to go back the same way. I took three trails that connected me back to the jones gap trail that were all downhill and very easy along the river. Happy hiking!

hiking
Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Very difficult trail as others have noted. Does not appear to be a high traffic trail and I can see why. Very challenging for me as a relative newcomer to hiking. Recommend only for those in good physical condition.

Monday, March 23, 2015

rim of gap very technical trail.. you have to love hiking to enjoy. lots of water falls narrow trails and rock faces.. well worth the time.. there where also lots of ladders to climb slippery rocks and roots all over the place.. also lots of cliff edges with drops offs over 100' straight down.. once pasted rim of gap it was all down hill and we made good time back to jones gap parking lot.. would not recommend trail to children or pets.. brought my dog and she slide down the face of 2 rocks landing 8 ft below unharmed. but there where plenty of places where that could have been fatal. be careful when you hike this one and take a friend..

hiking
Monday, June 02, 2014

This trial is for the more heavy hikers, but I would not recommend this for beginners. There are places were you can FALL OFF!

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Holy crap tough. Very cool but difficult and not for the first timer. A better fall/winter hike.

hiking
Sunday, December 09, 2012

Great trail but I would only recommend for experienced hikers. We hiked from Jones Gap State Park up the Rim of the Gap Trail and then took connector trails over to Jones Gap Trail. Beautiful winter views of Jones Gap. There were also many neat rock walls/formations along hike. We had to go up and down ladders and over a lot of slippery rocks. Check in winter because trail sometimes closes due to icy conditions.

Load More