Serene Lake Jocassee (pronounced “joe-KASS-ee”) was created from the Whitewater, Thompson, and Toxaway rivers by Duke Power Company in 1967. It is located in Oconee and Pickens counties. Along with Lake Keowee, it provides electricity and recreation for much of the Upstate.
At 7,500 acres, Lake Jocassee is perfect for boating, skiing, fishing, and swimming. There is very little development on its 75 miles of shoreline, and most of the surrounding land is also untouched by man.
The lake is known for the beautiful waterfalls – see below – that flow into it, but keep in mind that like many of our South Carolina waterfalls, they are best viewed after a good rain!
As for how Lake Jocassee got its name, SC Picture Project contributor Madison Pierce of nearby Salem shares this: “The Jocassee Valley was once home to the Cherokee Indians. The lake was named for an Indian princess who was said to have walked across its waters to reunite with the ghost of her lost love. The name Jocassee has an appropriate meaning: The Place of the Lost One.”
Waterfalls of Lake Jocassee
Several waterfalls line the boundaries of Lake Jocassee, creating an unmatched vision of mountain splendor. Below Wrights Creek Falls has two sections, one higher and one lower, flowing into the lake. The lower level of Wrights Creek Falls has space for adventurers to actually walk behind the falls when the water level is high. Below are three of the lake’s most popular waterfalls, though several unnamed falls can be found throughout the shoreline.
Mill Creek Falls, seen below, is a story-book cascade flowing over a rockface. While there is no room for walking behind the falls, boaters can get close enough to feel the water splashing onto the lake.
Finally, Laurel Fork Falls, below, is the crown jewel of the Lake Jocassee waterfalls. The cascade falls 80 feet in to the lake in three sections.
A small pool for swimming is created from the cascade below the middle section.
The upper section can be accessed by a portion of the Foothills Trail.
More Pictures of Lake Jocassee
Reflections on Lake Jocassee
Dave Allen, who took the stunning photo at the top of this page, describes the scene he found at Lake Jocassee: “A spectacular sunset over Lake Jocassee in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Upstate South Carolina. The foothills of the Southern Appalachians have so many amazing scenic landscapes, and this is one of my personal favorites. The overlook at Jumping Off Rock has an incredible view of the mountains of Western NC and Upstate SC from the top of a cliff that is 850 feet above the backside of Lake Jocassee.”
Kevin Matkoski, who contributed the photo above, of Columbia writes, “After I moved to SC, I was looking for a place to go camping (via my kayak). Lake Jocassee came highly recommended because of its waterfalls dropping into the lake, and I thought it would be perfect. Needless to say, this was my first introduction to drought in the Southeast. I didn’t find the infamous waterfalls scenes I had imagined, but even in drought conditions the lake’s beauty dominated the landscape.”