Day Hiking The Canebrake Trail In Gorges State Park

On Saturday, I drove from my home in upstate South Carolina to Gorges State Park in Transylvania County, North Carolina. The park consists of more than 7,700 acres of land, with temperate rain forest, river gorges and numerous waterfalls.

I planned to hike five miles from the Frozen Creek Access on the Canebrake Trail to where it intersects with the Foothills Trail. From there, I would hike another half mile or so to Lake Jocassee before turning around and hiking back out.

A short distance from the trailhead is this footbridge which crosses Frozen Creek.



I was expecting that there would have been more fall color in the mountains than there was, but I did find patches here and there.


The entire Canebrake Trail is on an old forest service road and sections of it are quite rocky. It’s nice and wide though, which is much different than the single track that I’m used to.


While the temperature was in the 70’s, the sky was nearly cloudless. I was glad for the shade that the canopy of trees provided.


After hiking 5 miles, I arrived at the junction for the Foothills Trail. Just to the left of the junction is this 65 foot suspension bridge that crosses Toxaway Creek and leads to a nice designated area for camping.


I walked out to the middle of the bridge and took this picture. Not far from here, the creek empties into the Toxaway River.


I went back to the junction and headed the other way. Here, there is another suspension bridge. This one crosses the Toxaway River and is much longer. At 225 feet, it is the longest suspension bridge on the Foothills Trail.



Before I crossed the bridge, I climbed down to the bank of the river to get some pictures.


Just around the bend, the river flows into Lake Jocassee.


There is a boat access about six-tenths of a mile further up the trail. The water in this area is very shallow, but I did see a couple of kayaks and a small motorboat.


I stopped at this spot on the lake and ate my lunch.


My lunch consisted of chicken salad on wheat bread with fresh spinach leaves.


Afterwards, it was time to turn around and to begin the hike back to my car. Along the way, I came upon this cool little mushroom. I’ve tried to identify it, but I haven’t been able to find a picture of one that matches it very well.


Back on the Canebrake Trail, I saw this tree growing out from the hillside.


It was actually a fairly large tree. Later, as I continued to make my way back to the trailhead, the winds picked up somewhat, and I could hear the trees creaking. A couple of branches broke off and crashed to the ground nearby. That certainly got my attention.


The hike out was mostly uphill. The total elevation gain/loss was a little over 1900 feet. All in all, I hiked about 11.2 miles and would rate it as having been moderately difficult.

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