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Jumping Off Rock — Lake Jocassee, South Carolina

SC Picture Project  |  Pickens County  |  Jumping Off Rock

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Jumping Off Rock

Serene Lake Jocassee is best viewed from Jumping Off Rock, located in northern Pickens County. No one knows for sure how the landmark received its unusual name – you should definitely not leap from this outcropping! – but its untouched beauty makes it one of the most treasured spots not only in South Carolina, but also in the world at large.

Jumping Off Rock Lake

Mark VanDyke of Herndon, VA, 2012 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

In fact, National Geographic recently recognized the Jocassee Gorges in its list, “50 of the World’s Last Great Places: Destinations of a Lifetime.” The designation was made in honor of the plant and wildlife diversity present in the gorges, as well as the area’s untouched landscape.

Lake Jocassee SC

Dave Allen of Hendersonville, NC © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Part of a series of gorges within the Blue Ridge Escarpment, the Jocassee Gorges provide visitors the experience of viewing a natural panorama with minimal human intrusion. Though hikers might see boats on the lake, the vista here remains uninterrupted by infrastructure or development.

Jumping Off Rock Jocassee

Bob Spalding of Easley, 2011 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The spectacular scenery can be credited in part to the efforts of Dr. Jim “Doc” Timmerman, Jr. Timmerman, director of SCDNR from 1974 to 1997, was a conservationist who instigated the state’s purchase and subsequent protection of of 50 square miles of land surrounding the lake. As a result, the area is officially known as the the Jim Timmerman Natural Resources Area. Timmerman died in 2005; a monument dedicated to him was placed at Jumping Off Rock in 2010.

Jumping Off Rock Pickens County

Jim Jenkins of Chesterfield, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Reflections on Jumping Off Rock

Photographer Mark VanDyke shares, “Driving up to Jumping Off Rock via Horsepasture Road is quite an experience. I roll the windows down in my truck and enjoy every second of it. For a kid who grew up in a subdivision outside of Washington DC that itself was the size of most of the towns I now live in, the solitude and rugged nature of Horsepasture Road – not to mention the payoff of the view from the scenic Jumping Off Rock overlook – are something out of an adventure book that I must have dreamed when I was playing in my concrete jungle as a boy. Jumping Off Rock is widely known as the pinnacle view in the state of South Carolina, looking down upon Lake Jocassee and out into the mountains of Western North Carolina.”

SCIWAY visitor Denise Campbell of Pickens wrote to tell us that Jumping Off Rock is “a sight that one must see for themselves, for pictures cannot fully capture the beauty.”

Add your own reflections here.

Jumping Off Rock Info

Address: Off Horsepasture Road, Sunset, SC 29685
GPS Coordinates: 35.004691,-82.904140

Jumping Off Rock Map

Please Share Your Thoughts!

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6 Comments about Jumping Off Rock

Jim Jenkins says:
October 21st, 2016 at 8:11 am

Having taken a photograph from this viewpoint, I agree with Denise Campbell, no photography can do the scene justice.
Jeanie Hoxit, the story you reference has been attributed to many waterfalls in the area, but if you jump from the rock in the scene in my shot, you will only fall about 6 feet and then there is a steep descent but not a deathly plunge. The day I was there two guys came running up the hill so they survived and I bet you would as well.

William Merzlak says:
July 24th, 2016 at 10:38 pm

Can you pitch a tent for a night at this location?

Jeanie Hoxit says:
May 22nd, 2016 at 3:04 pm

I heard the story of how it got its name: a maiden's lover died, and the young maiden jumped to her death.

Cory Matthews says:
February 5th, 2016 at 6:25 am

SC Raptor closed rihgt now just past jumping off rock with a new gate. also closed at the split so only way in is from the 173 entrance. all side roads closed as well. cant even get to the lake. very rare thing for a majority of trails to be open. that site is incorrect. have not seen it in what i consider open status in about 10 years and i would know because i live about a mile from the entrance.

SC Raptor says:
February 5th, 2016 at 1:42 am

I have been visiting the area for at least thirty-five years. In my experience, all of the roads have never been closed all the time. It is true that the road thru to Jumping Off Rock was for many years open only in the fall and and spring, coinciding with hunting seasons. However, according to information at the following link, that has more recently changed and Horsepasture Road will now be open year round. http://www.visitpickenscounty.com/vendor/1039/jumping-off-rock/

Daniel Jacob says:
March 3rd, 2015 at 4:20 pm

http://www.ExpeditionCarolina.com provides boat shuttle service from Devils Fork State Park that will place hikers within a 2 mile hike of the spot!
What a great way to kick off the year!


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