Hike to Rainbow Falls and Pretty Place

Hike to Rainbow Falls and Pretty Place

Jones Gap Parking Area

Distance

6.75 Miles

Elevation Gain

2150 Feet

Activities

Camping, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking

Skill

Advanced

Season

Spring, Summer, Autumn

Type

Out-and-Back

Added by

Seth Berry

Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Family Friendly
Forest
Groups
Picnic Area
River
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers

A strenuous hike to the spectacular 140-foot Rainbow Falls and to breathtaking Pretty Place Chapel is well worth the adventure and effort.

Jones Gap State Park in the Upstate of South Carolina is one of the most beautiful parks in the state offering a good range of moderate and challenging hiking and backpacking trails through the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area. Jones Gap also provides superb primitive camping sites along the rocky and scenic Middle Saluda River. You can make camping reservations here.

One of my favorite adventures in this area is to camp along the Middle Saluda River, then hike to Rainbow Falls, and continue on to Pretty Place Chapel. Be sure to allow a full day to do this challenging but rewarding hike and carry a day pack with water and snacks. Depending on if you decide to camp at one of the various trail side camping spots (reservations and fees required through the State Park), the total round hike to the waterfall, the chapel, and back is roughly 6.75 miles.

The hike to Rainbow Falls is a steep climb that crosses over several foot bridges along the river. It takes about 2.2 miles to get to the base of the waterfall from the park's registration area. The 140-foot waterfall plunges over a granite cliff surrounded by steep granite walls in the secluded gorge.

Continue on up the trail where you see it branches off towards Pretty Place Chapel. The chapel is on the property of a YMCA camp named Camp Greenville. This section is not as well maintained and has several sections that require using existing ropes and hand holds to advance up the trail along the rock cliffs. Then once you get to the road, continue hiking along the road to the right towards the chapel's parking area. This outdoor chapel was constructed in 1941 and offers spectacular views from the top of Standing Stone Mountain overlooking Jones Gap below. From here, return back on the trail that you came on back down to Jones Gap State Park.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations.

Nearby Lodging

From $194/night

Under Canvas Great Smoky Mountains

Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Oh My!

So this was the first hike to start off my outdoor adventures! I was not in any sort of hiking shape and this trail kicked my butt! However, it was so beautiful along the way. Once you get to the falls every bead of sweat was worth it!

Distance

6.75 Miles

Elevation Gain

2150 Feet

Activities

Camping, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking

Skill

Advanced

Season

Spring, Summer, Autumn

Type

Out-and-Back

Added by

Seth Berry

Nearby Adventures

Adventure

Hike the Pinnacle Pass/Rim of the Gap Loop

Adventure

Hike the Jones Gap Loop

Adventure

Photograph Fred W. Symmes Chapel (Pretty Place)

Adventure

Take in the View from Caesars Head Overlook

More Nearby Adventures

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