Thursday, February 11, 2016

February 6, 2016 - Jones Gap State Park, South Carolina

I recently purchased Thomas King's Waterfall Hikes of Upstate South Carolina and wanted to check out 2 of the waterfalls in Jones Gap State Park that I haven't been to - Oil Camp Falls and Eastern Stream Falls. Cindy and I figured that this was as good a place as any to go today, so that's where we headed.  Directions and trail descriptions of these 2 waterfalls (and others in SC) can be seen on this section of my web site.  Look under the Greenville County section.

I'm not sure how this parking area has been in the past since it's my first visit to the Oil Camp Creek section of the park, but it's now horrible.  There's maybe enough room for 2-3 cars to park here and a regular passenger car would probably bottom out trying to get turned around to get out.  Luckily, we were the first vehicle here today.
parking area for Oil Camp Falls hike

This looks like it would be a great area for spring wildflowers and I hope to make it back some time in April - or at least some time when the leaves are back out.  On the hike to Oil Camp Falls, we came across this smaller waterfall not mentioned in King's book.

There's a rusty 55 gallon drum hidden behind the bush at the bottom of the upper section of the falls indicating there may have been a moonshine operation here at some point.  This waterfall is maybe 20' high including the last sliding section at Oil Camp Creek.  Oil Camp Falls is just ahead on the trail and was more impressive than I was expecting.  The one negative is that there are a lot of branches blocking the view, so I'm thinking the view with leaves on will be even more obscured.

Oil Camp Falls

upper section of Oil Camp Falls

It's still a nice little spot and a fairly easy hike up to this point.  To get to Eastern Stream Falls, we had to backtrack a short distance and get on the Pinnacle Pass Trail heading up the mountain.  Both of these waterfalls are on the same stream, but I'm not sure where the name Eastern Stream is coming from.  The stream isn't on the topo map.

Eastern Stream Falls is a really interesting area of exposed bedrock with water flowing over it, creating a soggy environment for plants.  There is supposed to be a cataract bog nearby, so we'll definitely be back to see what plants grow here.  We know there are Trout Lily because there were several in bloom.

Trout Lily

I also spotted some type of Monarda  foliage that had already come up and Yucca plants scattered about on the steep banks.  The Pinnacle Pass Trail continues on from here and it looks like it will be well worth coming back this way for more exploring.  Below is a video of  both waterfalls.


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