About the Middle Saluda Passage
Middle Saluda Passage is resplendent with waterfalls, dramatic (and challenging) elevation changes, and diverse ecosystems. The passage (marked with Palmetto Trail signs) connects about 14 miles of existing trails (with multiple-colored blazes) in the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area of Jones Gap State Park and Caesars Head State Park. Highlights include Hospital Rock, The Winds, and Raven Cliff Falls, the latter a 420-foot mountain cascade. For the adventurous backpacker, rustic campsites are available throughout the wildly beautiful Jones Gap State Park. The passage is accessed from Jones Gap State Park (just past mile marker 5), Raven Cliff Falls (between mile markers 10 and 11), and Rainbow Falls at the YMCA Camp Greenville (mile marker 0).
- Per person fees are $5 or less for park admission to Jones Gap and Caesars Head State Parks.
- Fee camping is available at both parks.
- Trailhead at Camp Greenville: Traveling north from Greenville, SC, drive more than 30 miles on US Hwy 276 through Travelers Rest, Marietta, and Cleveland and past the Caesars Head State Park visitor center to the SC/NC border. At the border, turn right onto YMCA Camp Road (aka, Solomon Jones Road). Drive 5 miles to the camp. Look for the Palmetto Trail kiosk in the Rainbow Falls parking area.
- Trailhead at Jones Gap State Park: Traveling north from Greenville, SC, take US Hwy 276 through Travelers Rest, Marietta, and Cleveland. About 2 miles north of Cleveland, turn right at the Jones Gap State Park sign onto River Falls Road (SSR 97). River Falls Road becomes Jones Gap Road, which takes you into the park. The Palmetto Trail kiosk is located before crossing the bridge to the visitor center.
- Trailhead at Raven Cliff parking area: Traveling north from Greenville, SC, drive about 30 miles on US Hwy 276 through Travelers Rest, Marietta, and Cleveland, and past the Caesars Head State Park visitor center. From the visitor center, drive 1.1 miles and turn right into the Raven Cliff Falls parking area.
Primitive campsites are available for Caesars Head and Jones Gap State Parks and in the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area. These campsites are not drive-ups and have no water or electricity. Contact SC Parks for information and reservations.
If backpacking, remember to hang food in bear bags.