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Gorges State Park

976 Grassy Ridge Road, Sapphire, North Carolina 28874 USA

Free to Visit
Open Now
Fri 8a-6p
  • Independent
  • Pet Friendly
  • Public
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“Traipse Along a Somber Trail”

Gorges State Park is a 7,708-acre North Carolina state park in Transylvania County, North Carolina in the United States. The land, along Jocassee Gorges, 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. The park is adjacent to part of the Pisgah National Forest and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission's Toxaway Game Land. Gorges State Park provides the principle access to the Horsepasture River on these adjoining public lands.The state is currently developing facilities at Gorges.HistoryThe land of Gorges State Park is a thriving second growth forest. It has recovered from the interference of man to provide a thriving and unique habitat.One of the most damaging interferences to the Gorges environment occurred in 1916 when the dam containing Lake Toxaway broke. Record amounts of water gushed southward down the Toxaway River, destroying the communities in its path, scouring the gorges and leaving piles of debris 15 to 20 feet (6.1 m) high.Following the flood, local citizens eventually sold large land tracts in the Gorges to Singer Sewing Machine Company, which logged most of the land. Then, in the 1940s and 1950s, Singer sold the land to Duke Energy Corporation. The corporation purchased the land for its steep topography and high rainfall, which offered opportunities for development of hydropower projects.

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Reviewed by
Dave Doster

  • 133 Reviews
  • 124 Helpful
August 14, 2014
Rated 4.0

Rainbow Falls is one of the most gorgeous waterfalls in NC. The trail is labeled strenuous, but if you're in average health and take your time coming back up, it's not too bad. It's most definitely worth it. There is an overlook of the falls, and you can keep going up the trail to actually stand at the top of the falls. No railings here, so don't take young children to the top! If you fall in the fast running river, you're pretty much done for, so BE CAREFUL!

If you have any energy left over, there are two more falls up river from Rainbow, Turtleback, and Bust-Your-Butt. Turtleback is in a bend in the river so it's scenic. Bust-Your-Butt is one people used to slide down. It was very dangerous, and people have gotten killed on it, so I don't think it's allowed anymore. In fact these two falls may be on private property, so ask at the visitor center before going to those falls.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 5 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
April 30, 2016
Rated 5.0

Went to both entrances to the park. The Frozen Creek side has the larger hiking trails running 5-7 miles. The main entrance has a new visitor center. I can't remember the name of that entrance. From this entrance you can hike to the Rainbow Falls. It's a beautiful waterfall. The 3 mile walk is a little tough but anyone in reasonable health seemed to be making it. I was there on a Saturday and this place is popular on nice days.

There are 2 other waterfalls you could reach from this entrance. These are only about mile walks to get to.

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Gorges State Park

976 Grassy Ridge Road
Sapphire, North Carolina
28874 USA
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Open now until 6:00 pm
  • Sun - Sat: 8:00 am - 6:00 pm

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  • Parking
  • Pets Allowed
  • Restrooms
  • Wifi
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Credit Cards Accepted
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