May 23, 2013
Jumping-Off Rock will be open year-round in Jocassee Gorges
Jumping-Off-Rock, an iconic viewpoint above Lake Jocassee within the Jocassee Gorges in northern Pickens County, can now be accessed all year round. Horsepasture Road from US 178 to the popular overlook and Camp Adger Road from US 178 to the Horse Mountain gate will be open for licensed vehicles. For safety, no ATV use will be allowed during the summer months.
The S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) decided to provide year-round access to the popular site, since it is one of the most recognized overlooks in the state. "We have received many requests from the public to allow more access to Jumping Off Rock," said Mark Hall, DNR wildlife biologist and Jocassee Gorges project manager. "Opening these roads will allow easier access to the management area." For years, vehicular access has been limited to the spring and fall seasons. The main roads within Jocassee have been operated on a seasonal schedule, for resource and safety reasons. The other seasonal roads on Jocassee will still be open for public access March 10 to May 20 and Sept. 15 to Jan. 15. ATV access will only be open on open roads during these time periods.
The Jumping-Off Rock area is one of the prime destinations on Jocassee. It has beautiful views and supports one of South Carolina's two pairs of nesting peregrine falcons. When the falcons assumed residency six years ago, a new overlook was created near Jumping-Off Rock to avoid disturbance of the nesting pair of falcons. The overlook is one of the most remarkable vistas in the Upstate. The beautiful view of Lake Jocassee and the Blue Ridge Mountains is a must see. One rare feature at the vista is that few signs of human development are seen there.
National Geographic recently identified Jocassee Gorges as one the top 50 of "The World's Last Great Places." Several overlooks along the 9-mile ride on the Horsepasture Road to Jumping-Off Rock allow visitors to grasp a true sense of the vast extent of undisturbed landscape. The Horsepasture Road entrance is near the community of Rocky Bottom off U.S. Highway 178, about 8 miles north of the intersection of Scenic Highway 11 and U.S. Highway 178 in northern Pickens County.
ATV's and licensed vehicles are allowed on the main roads on Jocassee Gorges from March 20 to May 10 and Sept. 15 to Jan 15. ATV’s are not permitted to use the Horsepasture Road May 11 to Sept. 14 and Jan. 16 to March 19 in order to minimize safety issues, road damage and disturbance to wildlife. The use of 4-wheel drive and high-clearance vehicles is highly recommended for the long ride over steep hills and rough terrain.
Kiosks at the Jocassee entrances contain maps and a complete list of regulations pertaining to the property. Jocassee Gorges maps are available at many state parks along the S.C. 11 corridor and at the Clemson DNR office. The DNR website http://www.dnr.sc.gov has complete information as well. Contact the Clemson DNR office at (864) 654-1671 or Jocassee Field Office at (864) 878-9071 for more information.
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