Jumping Off Rock — Lake Jocassee, South Carolina
SC Picture Project | Pickens County | 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
Jumping Off Rock Info
Address: Off Horsepasture Road, Sunset, SC 29685
GPS Coordinates: 35.004691,-82.904140