Hiking Trail

Hospital Rock (#30)  

(Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area)


A strenuous, 4.4-mile trail beginning in Jones Gap State Park, this is one of the most rugged and difficult trails in the state. That said, it’s also jam-packed with delights: the house-sized boulder of Hospital Rock, the sheer granite walls of Cleveland Cliffs, and the 100-foot Falls Creek Falls. The Hospital Rock Trail heads northeast out of Jones Gap on an old roadbed and after about one mile arrives at a large draw packed with boulders. Here you can follow a short spur to Hospital Rock where legend says Confederate deserters hid out during the Civil War. After rejoining the main trail and crossing a stream, the trail climbs through a whopping 17 switchbacks to the base of Cleveland Cliffs (which is particularly beautiful in spring when the violets blossom). Beyond, the terrain is less rugged as you cross Headforemost Creek and arrive at Falls Creek. Here the blazes turn to purple and the Falls Creek Trail begins. This is a good point to turn around, but because this trail is so rugged, many hikers park a car on Falls Creek Road and finish this hike on the 1.2 mile Falls Creek Trail rather than return to Jones Gap State Park.

Length: 4.9 miles one-way.

Directions: From Greenville, drive northwest on US 276 to the junction of US 276 and SC 11. Continue approximately 1.5 miles and turn right onto River Falls Road (Greenville County S-23-97), which changes to Jones Gap Road, and continue to Jones Gap State Park. From the parking lot, walk toward the park buildings on a short trail that crosses the Middle Saluda. At the fishpond of the former Cleveland Fish Hatchery, bear right, and angle for the orange-blazed trailhead and registration box straight ahead. The Hospital Rock Trail ends at Falls Creek Waterfall and the only access from the east is via the Falls Creek Trail.

Camping: Trailside primitive camping is allowed on certain trails. Contact Caesars Head or Jones Gap State Parks for details. 

Park Information: Mountain Bridge Headquarters (Caesars Head State Park), 8155 Geer Highway, Cleveland, SC 29635, Telephone: 864-836-6115.

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 South Carolina State Trails Program
South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism
1205 Pendleton Street :: Columbia, SC 29201 :: 803-734-0173 
Updated: June 26, 2008
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