Rocky Gap / Willis Knob

Trail Activities: t

  • Hike
  • Equestrian

Length:

18.9 miles

Type:

Network

Surface:

Dirt, Gravel

Difficulty: Difficult

Trail Features: t

  • Camping
  • Parking
  • Water Launch
  • Trail Head
  • Information Sign
  • Pets
  • No Fee

Summary:

The Rocky Gap Trail in South Carolina and the Willis Knob Trail in Georgia combine to offer some of the most scenic horseback riding in the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains. Winding across deeply dissected ridges, the trails descend into the beautiful Chattooga Wild and Scenic River corridor.

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Linked by the Chattooga Wild and Scenic Corridor, the rugged Rocky Gap and Willis Knob loop trails hop back and forth across this famous river for roughly 28 miles. The 13-mile Rocky Gap Trail tackles the South Carolina side of the river, leaving another 15 miles to the Willis Knob trail on the Georgia side. Much of the Rocky Gap trail offers wide vistas overlooking farmlands and the Chattooga, occasionally fording the water at points such as Adline Branch, Big Island, or Moss Mill. Adline Branch might be the best crossing since it’s both wide and shallow. The trail also offers some of the most beautiful color you’ll see anywhere, including deep pink rhododendron and blue iris in the fall or daises in the summer. Be sure to look out for sensitive plants such as ginseng, sun-facing cornflower, mountain camellia, and piedmont strawberry. Deer and wild turkey also frequent the area, perhaps bedding down in the foundations of buildings left by early settlers. The trail network connects with a forest service road, allowing you to lengthen or shorten the trail according to your needs. 

Horses must be shod. Insect repellent is recommended during warm months.

Length: Approximately 34 total miles, including nearly 19 miles for Rocky Gap (on the SC side) and 15 miles for the Willis Knob Trail (on the Georgia side).

Difficulty: Trail condition and river crossings vary.

Hours: Open year-round

Camping: In South Carolina, Whetstone Horse Camp has 20 sites, with 14 available for reservations and six first-come, first-served. Amenities include centrally located drinking water, wheelchair accessible chemical toilets, cooking grills, hitching rails, tables and lantern posts. In Georgia, camping is available at the Willis Knob Horse Camp. There are two group campsites: The small loop has three sites that can accommodate six people each. A large loop has six sites that can accommodate six people each. Sites must be reserved in advance. Amenities include tie stalls, hand pump, lanterns, fire-rings and picnic tables.

Directions:

From Walhalla: Follow SC 28 north for six miles. Turn left a quarter-mile past the U.S. Forest Service Office onto Whetstone Road (Oconee County Road S-37-193). Go straight through the four-way stop. When the pavement ends, continue on a gravel road for approximately three-quarters of a mile. There is a sign for Whetstone Horse Camp on the left and day-use parking on the right.

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Sumter National Forest | Andrew Pickens Ranger District | 112 Andrew Pickens Circle, Mountain Rest, SC 29664 | (864) 638-9568 | Email

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KML fileTrail Segments (Paths)
Trail Features (Points of Interest)
Lat: 34.87641115525288
Long: -83.20978461910090