For the next hike with Clemson librarians, we decided to head to Rainbow Falls, in Jones Gap State Park. This is a repeat hike for me and was for at least one of the other hikers in the group. But, Rainbow Falls is such a gorgeous spot, it is worth repeated visits. This hike, about 5 miles round trip, is relatively strenuous, but the view at the end takes one's breath away.
So, here it was the middle of autumn, and I very much wanted to get up into the mountains to see the colors of the leaves, which were certainly at their height. I was concerned that if I didn't get up there sometime soon, I'd miss my chance. To that end, I looked around at different trail descriptions, trying to decide on an apt location for leaf-watching. I found a likely candidate in the Hospital Rock trail, a 2.2-mile round trip trail in Jones Gap State Park.
After a few deeply challenging weeks, a trip up to Rainbow Falls in the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area of South Carolina was just what I needed. The hike is not an easy one, but the view of the waterfall at the end makes the cost in sore muscles worth paying. The Rainbow Falls Trail itself is 2.2 miles, but in order to get to the trail, one has to walk along the Jones Gap Trail for a mile or so.
Back to the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area in upstate SC, this time for the Coldspring Branch Trail. Originally, I had intended to take the Coldspring Branch Trail, a 2.6-mile trail and then come back along the Bill KImball trail. When I conferred with the ranger at the Caesar's Head Visitor's Center, however, she advised that I come back along the Jones Gap Trail, which would be another 2.5 miles or so, to complete the loop.