Yes, you read that correctly. South Carolina has a rainforest. Tucked deep into the hills of the southern Appalachian Range in Pickens and Oconee Counties, there is a rainforest that can be found in the deep gorges created by the Blue Ridge Escarpment.
The Jocassee Gorges is a gorgeous, largely undiscovered area that receives about 100 inches of rainfall a year. The area is a temperate rainforest, making it one of only two rainforests in the lower 48 of the United States.
South Carolina DNR is the main organization that protects the 43,500 acres contained in the Gorges. You can visit their website here for more detailed information on the area.
The Gorges are also home to many species of rare plants. Possibly the most famous of these plants is the Oconee Bell, a small, white flower that grows mainly on the banks of rivers and blooms between mid-March and early April. The Oconee Bell is a tertiary plant, meaning that at one time, millions of years ago, this flower could be found all over the world. Now, it can only be found in a small area of the southern Appalachian Mountains, and a majority of its home is in the Jocassee Gorges.
If you want to experience a unique location to go hiking, camping, or backpacking, the Jocassee Gorges will not disappoint. There are many camping sites that are absolutely beautiful and will satisfy the need to get out in the wilderness. The Foothills Trail traverses through the Gorges, so there are hiking and backpacking opportunities galore.
There’s something almost magical about the wild, natural beauty that is found in every corner of the Jocassee Gorges. If you are a lover of the outdoors searching for your next place to explore, then look no further. These mountains beckon to the traveler on the hunt for something more. Congratulations, you’ve found it here.
For more information, visit our website LakeHartwellCountry.com, or stop by one of our Visitor’s Centers located in Pendleton or our in Pickens.
125 E Queen St.
Pendleton, SC 29670
222 W Main St.
Pickens, SC 29671