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Gorges State Park

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General Information

Description - 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 some 2,000 feet in only three to five miles combined with rainfall in excess of 80 inches per year creates a temperate rain forest and supports an extensive collection of waterfalls. North Carolina's newest state park will be managed to protect these nationally significant natural resources as well as to provide high quality outdoor recreation activities.

Gorges State Park was created in April 1999. At this time, there are no public facilities in the park and no public restrooms are available. A superintendent has been hired and additional positions will be filled in coming months. A citizens advisory committee has been appointed and natural and cultural heritage inventories are being conducted in the park. A public planning process will offer citizens the opportunity to participate in the preparation of the park's master plan, a document which lays out the long range plans for the park, including facility development and management.

There is currently no official parking area. A parking area with restrooms will probably be constructed along Hwy. 281.

Park Hours: November-February 8 am-6 pm; March, October 8 am - 7 pm; April, May, September 8 am - 8 pm; June-August 8 am - 9 pm. Office hours: 8 am-5 pm Monday through Friday. Gates will remain locked, except in emergency situations, when the park is not in operation. Please plan accordingly. The park is closed Christmas Day.

Recreation - Interim Operations: Each of the following rules and procedures will be studied during the planning and development phase of the park, and therefore, may change in the future.

At this time, all traditional hiking trails are open. The ongoing evaluation may open additional trails and/or close existing trails in sensitive areas due to concern for natural resource protection.

Currently backpack camping is permitted at traditional sites along the Foothills Trail.

Horses and mountain bikes are currently permitted on the following roads: Chestnut Mountain Road from Hwy. 281 southward into the park and Auger Hole Road from Chestnut Mountain Road toward the northeast boundary of the park.

Unlicensed ATVs are currently prohibited by state regulations throughout the State Park System. Licensed 4-wheel drive vehicles are permitted on Auger Hole Road for access to WRC game lands during hunting season.

Boat access to Lake Jocassee is currently available through Devil's Fork State Park in South Carolina.

Special interest areas include: The Horse pasture River (National Wild and Scenic River), Toxaway River, Bearwallow Creek, Thompson River, Bearcamp Creek, Windy Falls, Lower Bearwallow Falls, Toxaway Creek Falls, Chestnut Mountain, Grindstone Mountain, Gridstone Mountain, Misery Mountain, major trout streams, native and numerous rare species of wildflowers.

Climate - Winter daytime temperatures average 36 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit (2 to 4 Celsius). Summer daytime temperatures average below 76 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit (24 to 26 Celsius). The state has a fairly wet climate with an average precipitation for this area averaging more than 52 inches (132 centimeters). Areas within the state park has recordings exceeding 80 inches of rainfall per year.

Location - Gorges State Park is located in Transylvania County and joins the NC /SC state line. It is approximately 45 miles southwest of Asheville. The interim park office is located at the intersection of US 64 and NC 281 South.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: We (two) started out at 1 PM for an hour or two of birding on the Auger Hole Trail, neglecting all the rules of survival, including looking at the map of the park posted on a bulletin board; no water, food, matches, flashlight or knife. I assumed wrongly that this plainly marked trail, as in many parks we've visited, would eventually lead back to our starting place. To make a long story short, we enjoyed the scenery (didn't see many birds) and 4 hrs later came to a sign which said we were leaving the park. We kept going thinking we'd come out on a paved road eventually. We didn't. It got so dark that we couldn't see the dirt road we were following. We hunkered down for the night in the adjoining gamelands, and shared body heat under a beautiful starlit sky (no moon). At 3 AM, I was awoken (actually asleep at that time) by a big tongue lapping my face, a big hound dog with a transmitter collar. My first thought after my initial start was that we'd been rescued by satellite tracked dogs (a second one showed up). Wow! One of them curled up against my cousin's back and warmed her up a little. At 6:30 we arose and headed back the way we came. Found out from bear hunters we met as they drove in in 4x4s, that the dogs were bear dogs and where we'd spent the night was called the hogwallow, often used by wild pigs to bed down at night. One the hunters was kind enough to give us some water and food bars and a ride back to the place where the park resumed. After another 6 miles of hiking, we finally made it back to the car at noon or so. We looked at the map and found that we had walked more than 16 miles, 12 of it in the park, and 4 in the gamelands. I doubt that we walked more than a quarter mile on level ground! We were both glad that we didn't know how far we had gone beforehand. Any old how, we learned our lesson, and happily came out of it only tired, no hypothermia, sprained ankles, or dehydration. We'll be back. Suggestions for the next guy? Get a map, and carry a backpack with water, snacks and a flashlight, minimum. Suggestion for the Park folks? put a sign at the beginning of the trails warning that they don't end back at the start, for dummies like me!

Filed By: Jon Burton (Longwood, FL)
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: there is a gravel parking area about a mile south of 64 (on 281). it has some port-a-potties and a couple of tables. park and walk toward 281 turn left and walk along 281 until you reach a gate across an access road. take this road for the best trail there. goes to several water falls (rainbow falls) beautiful!!

Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: I could go on and on about how beautiful this area is - and I do in this section of my website http://www.geocities.com/waterfallrich/jocassee1.htm

More Information

Contact Information:
Gorges State Park, P.O. Box 100 , Sapphire, NC, 28774-0100, Phone: 828-966-9099
, gorg@citcom.net

Additional Information:
Asheville Area - Spectacular mountain scenery, beautiful rushing waters, countless museums, historical sites, state and national lands, cultural events and the famous Biltmore Estate are concentrated in this area.
Mountain Region - Experience North Carolina's Mountain Region where two of America's most visited national parks reside, where thousands of acres of national and state forestland sliced by rushing waters dominate the landscape, and where visits can relive the luxurious past of America's industrial birth.
North Carolina State Parks - North Carolina's State Parks offer wonderful beach camping to mountain wilderness camping. There are hiking trails in all sorts of forest types and countless fishing opportunities. The entire state, from the mountain to the piedmont area to the coast is rich in history and well highlighted at the parks.

Gorges State Park - Official agency Website


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