Jumping Off Rock has long been touted as the hallmark view of the Jocassee Gorges. The rocky cliff, where peregrine falcons have been found to nest, offers a breathtaking panorama of Lake Jocassee and the surrounding mountains.
So why is this exceptionally scenic photo spot the most overlooked overlook in South Carolina?
You'll find out for yourself if you drive up to the 33,000-acre Jim Timmerman Natural Resources Area at Jocassee Gorges in northern Pickens County. While the rugged terrain is as beautiful as any you will see in the Blue Ridge Escarpment, it's not for sissy sedans.
Even in a sturdy SUV, the ride is rough and oh, so exhilarating! A visit to Jumping Off Rock is as much about getting there as what you find when you do get there.
The fun begins on Horse Pasture Road, a primitive gravel drive that ascends steeply to the 2,000-foot high rock overlook. Although the SC Department of Natural Resources has done much to improve the trek up the mountain, it's still slow-going on this twisty, bumpy road.
The better to enjoy the scenery.
Along the way are several small waterfalls and six other overlooks, all with spectacular views. About 8 miles up the road is the North Carolina Overlook, where you'll find a stone bench erected by the SC Bear Hunters' Association. It's a great spot to take a break or have lunch and enjoy the view.
After another couple miles you'll reach Jumping Off Rock. What makes the view from this precipice so extraordinary is the lack of development anywhere in sight. It's just mountains, trees and the gorgeous crystal clear waters of Lake Jocassee.
Horse Pasture Road is open year-round to cars. You can hike, bike or horseback ride up to the overlook, but then you'd miss all the dizzying turns and bouncy fun of this wild ride.