Jocassee Gorges Featured in National Geographic

By:Marie McAden

Date:2/22/2013

Just one month after Charlest​on was named top tourist city on the planet by Conde Nast Traveler, the Upstate’s Joca​ssee Gorges was designated a “destination of a lifetime” by National Geographic.

This underrated wilderness jewel was included in a special edition of the renowned magazine highlighting “50 of the World’s Last Great Places”. Chosen by Nat Geo’s family of globe-trotting contributors, the bucket list of must-see sites includes a wide range of settings with undisturbed natural resources from the Loire Valley to Easter Island.

Jocassee Gorges, with its lush mountain forests, crystal clear streams and scenic waterfalls, certainly deserves the recognition. Located in the northwest corner of the state — far removed from urban encroachment — Jocassee Gorges is a nature lover’s wonderland. Along with a diversity of wildlife, the area boasts more than 60 species of rare and endangered plants.

Among the rarest is the Oconee Bell, first discovered by French botanist Andre Michaux in 1788. Found only in a few isolated locations in the southern Appalachians, this beautiful wildflower inhabits the humid, rocky outcrops around rugged gorges and cool, shady woods along streams and waterfalls.

Jocassee Gorges’ 43,000 acres extends from Lake Jocassee in northern Oco​nee County to the North Carolina/South Carolina border and onward to Caes​ars Head and Table R​ock state parks.

The 75 inches of precipitation that occurs in the area each year has helped create a pristine wilderness, unique among mountains settings in the Eastern United States. And it’s right in our backyard.

Go explore!

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