Foothills Trail - Jocassee Gorges
The portion of the Foothills Trail along Lake Jocassee and its gorges
The three-day, 31-mile hike along the northern end of Lake Jocassee can be hiked from Duke Powerâ€™s Bad Creek Hydroelectric Station (the western end) or from the Laurel Valley area, off Horsepasture Road (the eastern end). Shuttle services are available.
The western end begins with the Bad Creek spur trail (blazed blue), which intersects the Foothills Trail. The trail crosses into North Carolina a few times, winding almost four miles through the woods to Thompson River Gorge. Campsites are located on both sides of the bridge over the river. After crossing the bridge, the trail climbs up a bluff and along a ridge to a campsite at Bearcamp Creek, which lies about 7.5 miles into the hike. From the campsite, the trail follows the creek for a time before beginning its descent to Horsepasture River at mile 9.5. The trail continues over the bridge across the river and up the hill to run along the ridge to reach Bear Gap and Bear Creek (complete with campsite) about 11.7 miles into the hike. 5.3 miles from Bear Gap, hikers arrive at Toxaway River. A fairly level but rugged mile away from Toxaway River, hikers come to Rock Creek, which has a good spot for camping. The stunning 80-foot Laurel Falls lies a steep 4 miles away from the creek, and is a great place to relax, with both a picnic area and a campsite. The last 8 miles wind to and along Laurel Creek and into Laurel Valley.