Gorges State Park

Gorges State Park is a 7,641-acre jewel in Transylvania County, North Carolina, along Jocassee Gorges, which was purchased by the state from Duke Energy Corporation in 1999. It is North Carolina's westernmost state park and one of the state's newest. Gorges State Park opened its new 7,100 square-foot Visitor Center on October of 2012 and is ready to welcome you.  The views from the Visitor Center alone are worth the drive.

View from Gorges State Park Vistor's Center

View from the Gorges State Park Visitor's Center.

Photo by Bret James Stewart

Gorges State Park is home to a wide variety of habitats due to its geologic formations, elevation, and climate. Extreme elevation and 80 inches of rain per year creates a temperate rain forest, and the sharp elevation change has resulted in a number of fantastic waterfalls.

Gorges State Park is also home to roughly 125 rare plant and animal species and 12 endangered or threatened plant and animal species as well as an abundance of plant and wildlife that is more typical to the southern Appalachians.

Flora and Fauna include:

  • Mountain laurel
  • Rhododendron
  • White pine
  • Red oak
  • Hickory
  • Oconee bells-- a very rare plant that is abundant here 
  • White-tailed deer
  • Black bear
  • Wild Turkey
  • Wild boar
  • Green salamanders—N.C.’s largest population
  • Swainson's warbler
  • Turquoise darter
  • Redeye bass

Long-range mountain view from Bearwallow Overlook in Gorges State Park

View from Bearwallow Valley Overlook on Gorges State Park's loop road.  The park features a nice drive as well as nice hikes.

Photo by Bret James Stewart

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Hiking Trails

The hiking trails of Gorges are spectacular, featuring a wide variety in topography, forest type, and difficulty.  An alphabetical list follows.  They are also available by distance and difficulty

1.       Auger Hole Trail

2.       Bearwallow Valley Trail

3.       Canebrake Trail

4.       Foothills Trail

5.       Indian Camp Trail

6.       Heath Pine Ridge Trail

7.       Lime Kilns Trail

8.       Picnic Area Connector Trail

9.       Rainbow Falls Trail

10.     Raymond Fisher Trail

11.     Upper Bearwallow Falls Trail

12.     Wintergreen Trail


Grassy Ridge Parking Area in Gorges State Park

View of and from Grassy Ridge Parking Area.  The trailhead for Rainbow Falls Trail and Raymond Fisher Trail are to the viewer's left just outside this photo--you can just see the path to it with the white signs and boulders. 

Photo by Bret James Stewart

› Gorges State Park

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Click here to visit Gorges State Park's official site

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