Gorges State Park, Sapphire

#2 of 7 in Things to do in Sapphire
State Park · Nature / Park
Gorges State Park is a 7709acre North Carolina state park in Transylvania County, North Carolina in the United States. The land, along Jocassee Gorges, was purchased by the state from Duke Energy Corporation in 1999. It is North Carolina's westernmost state park and one of the state's newest. The park is adjacent to part of the Pisgah National Forest and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission's Toxaway Game Land. Gorges State Park provides the principle access to the Horsepasture River on these adjoining public lands.
The land of Gorges State Park is a thriving second growth forest. It has recovered from the interference of man to provide a thriving and unique habitat.
One of the most damaging interferences to the Gorges environment occurred in 1916 when the dam containing Lake Toxaway broke. Record amounts of water gushed southward down the Toxaway River, destroying the communities in its path, scouring the gorges and leaving piles of debris 15 to 20ft high.
Following the flood, local citizens eventually sold large land tracts in the Gorges to Singer Sewing Machine Company, which logged most of the land. Then, in the 1940s and 1950s, Singer sold the land to Duke Energy Corporation. The corporation purchased the land for its steep topography and high rainfall, which offered opportunities for development of hydropower projects.
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Gorges State Park reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
314 reviews
  • A perfect way to spend a Friday during a Pandemic. We got on the trail at 9am and hike to Rainbow Falls and Turtle Back Falls, passing less than 3 people. It did get busier when we headed back to...  more »
  • We did the Rainbow Falls hike/trail. Signage to the trailhead and parking lot were good and the portion of the trail within the state park was in excellent shape. Trails are well marked. Dogs are...  more »
  • Gorges State Park in North Carolina is a great park to get outside and be with nature in a great environment. The park is very well maintained and cared for as you can witness all of the work that went into making this magical place so accessible and easy to get to and navigate. The visitor center at this park is awesome and has many features including nice bathrooms, educational exhibits, beautiful views, and rocking chairs among many other cool things. I really like the trails at this park as they are somewhat challenging, but keep you going with all that they have to offer and have really good payoffs at the end. The Rainbow Falls one is great and well worth the trip and getting wet to get close to it and witness it.
  • This is a very nice State Park with a good sized visitor center with a lot of useful information about the local area and trails. A short drive from the visitor center is a pretty popular trail (Rainbow Falls) that takes you to a couple great waterfalls. Be careful if you are not a strong hiker because the trail is mostly downhill on the way to the falls which means uphill most of the way back when you are already tired so it can get pretty strenuous. However if you can handle the hike the destination is definitely worth it.

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