Hospital Rock and Falls Creek Falls

Hospital Rock is a large cave located in the Mountain Bridge Wilderness area. It's accessible most quickly via the Hospital Rock trail at Jones Gap State Park. Getting to the cave requires a very strenuous 1.1 mile hike in. This is labelled as one of the "most strenuous and rugged" trails in the state. As Kimberli stated on her blog recently, there's a reason they call it Hospital Rock. The trip up is a doozy. (I had another name for it most of the way but this is a family friendly site.)

According to the SC trails website the cave was used as a hideout for confederate deserters.

A month or so ago, someone left a campfire burning nearby and damn near burned the place down. Story

After reaching Hospital Rock, should you have a masochistic streak, you can continue on the Hospital Rock trail another 3.3 miles to Falls Creek Falls. The mile after the cave is worse than the first. Whoever built it was apparently not a huge fan of switchbacks. I guess if you're running from the Confederate army you'd want the shortest path. During this section you may spend a lot of time in existential introspection examining why you would choose to do this to yourself, realizing why your wife never hikes with you anymore and determining that if you ever make it out alive, you're starting a new hobby. Macramé perhaps. But then, right at the 2 mile mark the trail levels out as you begin to walk near the ridge. It stays that way 3/4 of a mile or so then starts getting a little hairy for another mile before descending sharply (very sharply) and then running along a beautiful stream before reaching the falls.

If you really hate life (or the people you brought with you) turn around and go back. Otherwise continue on the Falls Creek Falls trail (which is mostly down hill) to the Palmetto Bible Camp then walk three miles up the road back to your car. Or you could always just park at the Bible camp and walk the 1.4 miles to the falls and back.

Distance from downtown Greenville: 25 miles.

View Larger Map


Kimberli said...

You're far braver than I!

I enjoyed the read and the photos (especially since I'll probably never hike that trail.)

Thanks for including the information on the Confederate cave. That was news to me.