One of the lesser visited gems inside Jones Gap State Park. One of our favorites.
There is a wonderfully beautiful waterfall inside Jones Gap State Park called Falls Creek Falls. This 125 foot multi-cascade is one of our favorites in Jones Gap and is probably one of the least hiked waterfalls inside the park. However reaching this gem is not easy as the hike is correctly rated as strenuous climbing a little over 800 feet on the 1.2 mile hike to the falls. We thought that the hike to Falls Creek Falls was even more strenuous than the approach to Rainbow Falls even though this hike was significantly shorter.
Jones Gap State Park is located at 303 Jones Gap Road in Marietta South Carolina but the trailhead to Falls Creek Falls is located just outside the main park area on Falls Creek Falls Road just past the Palmetto Bible Camp entrance. From the South you approach via highway 276 or, from the North, you approach via highway 25. Falls Creek Falls is about 45 minutes from Greenville South Carolina or about 1 hour from Asheville North Carolina. There are restroom facilities available at the visitors center inside the park but there are no facilities at the trailhead to Falls Creek Falls.
There is limited parking at the trailhead to Falls Creek Falls but you can parallel park along the road if you need to. This area is also not as popular as the main park so it makes it a great alternative if the main parking area is full. Unlike the main parking area, there isn’t a fee station here so there are no costs to using the trail or parking at the trailhead.
The trailhead starts immediately behind the parking area right next to the informative sign board that is present. The park does require that you register so make sure you properly register using the form available. The trail is marked with purple blazes and the ascent up the ridge starts right away, there’s no beating around the bush. If you are not a big fan of switchbacks than this is the hike for you as the trail doesn’t waste a lot of time when you need to get up the ridge; it just goes straight up it. It is also easy to get off the trail if you are not paying attention to the blazes. Keep a watch out for the purple blazes and, when it doubt, take the trail going straight up the mountain and you should be fine.
After a good hike, and after crossing a few minor creeks, you should see and hear the falls as you approach. There is an upper and lower section of the falls with the trail leading right to the middle.
Going down and to the left will take you to the lower area which is flatter and has a larger area for viewing the falls although you do have to cross the creek. Be careful as the abundant water and mist makes the rocks very slippery. The trail on the other side of the creek, marked with the yellow blazes, continues to Jones Gap State Park but is not part of this trail. You can catch a little bit of the upper falls from the lower section but you really need to hike up to it to see it in its entirety.
To reach the upper falls, hike back up to the trail and take the right trail that climbs up to the base of the upper falls. This area is a little more rocky and isn’t as open as the lower falls. There are numerous large boulders present that you can relax on while you rest and enjoy the view of Falls Creek Falls.
This is an out and back hike so when you are done enjoying the falls, hike safely back down to the parking area.