Rim of the Gap Trail to Jones Gap Trail

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Caesars Head State Park

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

camping

fishing

hiking

bird watching

running

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

rocky

scramble

hiking
bugs
muddy
over grown
rocky
scramble
washed out
3 days ago

Hiked on May 24, 2020. Recent rainfall in the area definitely had an impact on the trail. We hiked it from Jones Gap up Rim to Coggins to Cold Spring back to Jones Gap. The beginning of the trail was extremely overgrown and wet. Be prepared with extra gear at the end of this thing. The top of the mountain was nice and open with plenty of cool breezes and sun. Then it goes to hell from there. Just as you crest over the top you enter into the rhododendron cave and start your trek across the face of the mountain. I kid you not. This narrow, wet, dangerous trail is no joke and do not go on it if you are afraid of heights, water crossings, or high water crossings. Leave plenty of time to cross this area. We cruised up the mountain in an hour, but it took us over 3 hours to cross the face. Lots of narrow switchback type portions that you have to watch or you will wander off into the great nothing. Water, water, water, water, water, mud, water. If you don't like that, don't go. The trail is carved out of the jungle and if you don't like tight spaces this is not for you. You will get out of it although I have probably screamed more colorful metaphors towards the end not knowing where the end was. The rest was a cake walk and downhill almost all the way to Jones Gap again. Trail ended up around the 13.4 mile mark which took us about 7.5 hours and we are slow. Be super careful because if you fall of this thing know one will ever find you again.....ever...

hiking
13 days ago

Great trail. Difficult. Easy to lose the trail. Had to backtrack twice. Not really dog friendly unless your dog can scale a steep 10 ft ladder. I went counterclockwise to Jones Gap and did the loop taking Coldspring Branch Trail , and the connector trail back to Caesars Head. Saw 3 black bear. 12 miles total

hiking
icy
rocky
scramble
2 months ago

hiking
muddy
rocky
scramble
4 months ago

Did this hike today with a slight variation from the AllTrails map. Started at Raven Cliff Falls parking area and hiked clockwise on Coldspring Branch Trail to Jones Gap trail, finishing by taking Rim of the Gap westbound and returning to the parking area via Geer Hwy. Creek crossings on Coldspring Branch were quite dicey due to recent heavy rainfall. Rim of the Gap trail is no joke. Hiking up from Jones Gap is steep but presets no major obsticles. After the junction with the Pinnacle Connector trail, however, it becomes quite a bit more interesting. This section MAY have been closed due to poor conditions at the time I hiked it. Anyway... The trail is very narrow, mostly rock, mud and leaves, and requires a good bit of scrambling. For several water crossings and scrambles I had to toss my poles ahead, as both hands were needed for hanging on to rocks, limbs, and whatever else I could use to stay mostly upright. The trail is mostly easy to follow, but blazes are not consistent, and I imagine with more foliage in summer it could be a challenge. This trail is definitely no joke, far more challenging than anything I have seen hiking in the Smokies. That said, I was absolutely thrilled by it, and if you enjoy a truly challenging, technical hike, this is for you. Note: I would never advocate hiking a trail which has been closed by operating authorities. Always follow the advice of staff and trail operators.

This shit sucks good luck

hiking
over grown
rocky
9 months ago

great but its not hard to get lost. the blazes are far apart and sometimes you don't know if you're following the right trail or even on a trail. the views are beautiful and there's not very many people on this trail so it's solitude is greatly appreciated. i wouldn't take your dogs. there's latter's to climb and it really can be tricky at times.

Mon May 13 2019

Be sure to pay attention to the trail markers, I had to back track twice. Great hike, and views, difficult in spots.

hiking
Sun May 05 2019

Completed this trip but was a little surprised that a trail with this label "Rim of the Gap" wouldn't be absolutely littered with awesome views. None the less, it was a great hike and full of challenges. Will likely do it again in the future. Jones Gap State Park is incredible and be sure to include the falls!

hiking
Sat Apr 06 2019

I did not finish this hike, due to time constraints and my errors. Pay close attention to the trail makers, I lost valuable time missing markers. I would recommend going with a friend. I made it over half way, great hike and views, I'll be going back.

hiking
Mon Dec 03 2018

Fun hike. Rim of the gap trail gets a bit technical in parts. Trail is very well blazed but its important to pay close attention while on Rim Of The Gap (yellow), some parts are a bit iffy but I always found a blaze within 50 feet of questionable areas. All and all great trail. Would recommend to any experienced hiker.

Thu Sep 13 2018

awesome hike!!!! not for the inexperienced

Thu Sep 06 2018

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
Mon May 28 2018

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).

Wed Apr 04 2018

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 climb 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
Sun Apr 01 2018

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.

Tue Mar 20 2018

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.

Sun Dec 03 2017

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
Sat Oct 21 2017

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

hiking
Mon Sep 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
Thu Aug 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.

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