Gorges State Park - Bearwallow Valley & Falls Trails (8-21-12)
Gorges is quickly becoming one of my favorite afternoon haunts. Not only is it an easy 10-miles from our home outside of Lake Toxaway, it offers a unique opportunity for me to see a state park in development. Barely a decade ago facilities here consisted of a couple roadside dirt parking lots. Now, a paved loop road, numerous maintained trails, picnic facilities, and a soon-to-be-opened visitor center (October 2012) are all available amenities. On this particular day I didn't have all that much time so I thought I'd do a quick recon of two of the parks shorter trails; the Bearwallow Valley and Bearwallow Falls Trails.
Each are around a half-mile one way and their names tell you what they're all about. The Bearwallow Valley Trail winds uphill from the parking area to a nice view of the Bearwallow Valley stretching away to South Carolina. The Bearwallow Falls Trail leads to an overlook with a rather restricted view of Upper Bearwallow Falls. I wouldn't rate these trails as the 'best of the park' but I hadn't hiked 'em yet, so I had to go...
Trailhead GPS Coordinates: 35.101243, -82.945566
Mileage Hiked: 2.0 miles
Trailhead Temp: 73'F
Min. Elevation: 2,950'
Max Elevation: 3,300'