What to do in Gorges State Park

Plunging waterfalls, rugged river gorges, sheer rock walls and one of the greatest concentrations of rare and unique species in the eastern United States are found within Gorges State Park. An elevation that rises some 2,000 feet in only three to five miles combined with rainfall in excess of 80 inches per year creates a temperate rain forest and supports an extensive collection of waterfalls. North Carolina's newest state park will be managed to protect these nationally significant natural resources as well as to provide high quality outdoor recreation activities.

Gorges State Park was created in April 1999. At this time, there are no public facilities in the park and no public restrooms are available. A superintendent has been hired and additional positions will be filled in coming months. A citizens advisory committee has been appointed and natural and cultural heritage inventories are being conducted in the park. A public planning process will offer citizens the opportunity to participate in the preparation of the park's master plan, a document which lays out the long range plans for the park, including facility development and management.

There is currently no official parking area. A parking area with restrooms will probably be constructed along Hwy. 281.

Park Hours: November-February 8 am-6 pm; March, October 8 am - 7 pm; April, May, September 8 am - 8 pm; June-August 8 am - 9 pm. Office hours: 8 am-5 pm Monday through Friday. Gates will remain locked, except in emergency situations, when the park is not in operation. Please plan accordingly. The park is closed Christmas Day.

Interim Operations: Each of the following rules and procedures will be studied during the planning and development phase of the park, and therefore, may change in the future.

At this time, all traditional hiking trails are open. The ongoing evaluation may open additional trails and/or close existing trails in sensitive areas due to concern for natural resource protection.

Currently backpack camping is permitted at traditional sites along the Foothills Trail.

Horses and mountain bikes are currently permitted on the following roads: Chestnut Mountain Road from Hwy. 281 southward into the park and Auger Hole Road from Chestnut Mountain Road toward the northeast boundary of the park.

Unlicensed ATVs are currently prohibited by state regulations throughout the State Park System. Licensed 4-wheel drive vehicles are permitted on Auger Hole Road for access to WRC game lands during hunting season.

Boat access to Lake Jocassee is currently available through Devil's Fork State Park in South Carolina.

Special interest areas include: The Horse pasture River (National Wild and Scenic River), Toxaway River, Bearwallow Creek, Thompson River, Bearcamp Creek, Windy Falls, Lower Bearwallow Falls, Toxaway Creek Falls, Chestnut Mountain, Grindstone Mountain, Gridstone Mountain, Misery Mountain, major trout streams, native and numerous rare species of wildflowers.

Gorges State Park is located in Transylvania County and joins the NC /SC state line. It is approximately 45 miles southwest of Asheville. The interim park office is located at the intersection of US 64 and NC 281 South.

Winter daytime temperatures average 36 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit (2 to 4 Celsius). Summer daytime temperatures average below 76 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit (24 to 26 Celsius). The state has a fairly wet climate with an average precipitation for this area averaging more than 52 inches (132 centimeters). Areas within the state park has recordings exceeding 80 inches of rainfall per year.

P.O. Box 100
Sapphire, NC 28774-0100

Phone: 828-966-9099

Email: gorg@citcom.net
  • Gorges State Park Travel Q&A