Joyful Journey: Gorges State Park

The state parks are back LKN readers!  Gorges State Park is a stunning natural oasis located in the western part of North Carolina. With over 7,500 acres of beautiful wilderness, the park offers visitors an array of outdoor activities, from hiking and fishing to camping and waterfall hunting. Let’s take a look at some fun and informative activities to enjoy in Gorges State Park.

Brief History

Gorges State Park is not only a stunning natural oasis, but it also has a rich history that dates back to the early 1900s. The land that now makes up the park was once home to the Cherokee people, who used the area for hunting and fishing. In the late 1800s, the land was purchased by the Southern Railroad Company, who used the area to log timber for their railroad ties.

In the 1920s, the area was purchased by the Duke family, who used the land as a hunting retreat. In the 1950s, the family began to sell off parcels of the land, with much of it eventually being acquired by the state of North Carolina. In 1999, Gorges State Park was officially established, with the park opening to the public in 2000.



Since its establishment, Gorges State Park has become a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. With its diverse habitats, stunning waterfalls, and ample opportunities for outdoor recreation, the park offers visitors a chance to connect with nature and experience the beauty of western North Carolina.


Gorges State Park has over 26 miles of hiking trails that offer visitors a chance to explore the natural beauty of the area. The trails range from easy to difficult, with options for both beginners and experienced hikers. Some of the popular trails in the park include the Rainbow Falls Trail, Bearwallow Valley Trail, and Auger Hole Trail.

Waterfall Hunting

Gorges State Park is home to several beautiful waterfalls, including Rainbow Falls, Turtleback Falls, and Drift Falls. Visitors can spend a day waterfall hunting, taking in the sights and sounds of these stunning natural wonders. Remember to wear sturdy hiking shoes and bring a camera to capture the beauty of the falls.


The park is home to several streams and rivers that offer great fishing opportunities. The East Fork of the French Broad River is a popular spot for trout fishing, with rainbow, brown, and brook trout found in the waters. The park also has several ponds that are stocked with trout, bass, and bluegill.


For visitors who want to immerse themselves in the park’s natural beauty, camping is a great option. The park has several camping areas, including the Bearwallow Backcountry Campsites, which offer a remote camping experience. The park also has several drive-in campsites, with options for RV camping as well.

Wildlife Viewing

Gorges State Park is home to an array of wildlife, including black bears, white-tailed deer, and a variety of bird species. Visitors can spend a day wildlife viewing, exploring the park’s diverse habitats and keeping an eye out for the park’s inhabitants.

Nature Programs

The park offers a variety of nature programs for visitors of all ages. From guided hikes and nature walks to educational programs on the park’s history and ecology, visitors can learn more about the park and its natural wonders. The park also offers ranger-led programs for children, including Junior Ranger and Kids in Parks programs.


The park has several picnic areas, with tables and grills available for visitors to use. These areas offer a great place to relax and enjoy a picnic lunch while taking in the natural beauty of the park.

Unique Features

Gorges State Park, known for its stunning natural beauty and diverse range of ecosystems, including dense forests, waterfalls, and rugged gorges. One of the park’s unique features is the Jocassee Gorges, a rugged and remote area that is home to over 60 rare and endangered species. This area is only accessible by foot and provides visitors with a unique opportunity to experience the natural beauty of the park in a secluded and peaceful setting. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful retreat in nature or an adventure-packed getaway, Gorges State Park offers something for everyone, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

At the End of the Day

Gorges State Park is a natural wonderland with an array of activities to enjoy. From hiking and waterfall hunting to fishing and camping, the park offers visitors a chance to connect with nature and experience the beauty of the western North Carolina region. So, pack your bags, lace up your hiking boots, and head to Gorges State Park for a fun and memorable outdoor adventure.


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