Splendid Spontaneous Adventure

Sometimes the best adventures are impulsive, last minute decisions to do something unexpected, unplanned, and action packed. Weekends are filled with free time and the opportunity to take a break from the normal routine. I woke up on a sunny Saturday morning and an outdoor adventure was calling: hiking it would be. I banned together 3 of my friends and after a quick Facetime to a hiking veteran/Furman senior, we concluded a trail. I told her that we wanted a hike that was closemedium distance, and with a beautiful destination. Taking the criteria into account, she recommended Rainbow Falls Trail in Jones Gap State Park headquarters. Off we went!

Nitty, Gritty Trail Details

  • 3.9 miles (6.28 km)
  • 1181 feet of elevation (360 meters)
  • Rated as difficult (strenuous uphill to get to the waterfall)
  • Dogs allowed (leash required)
  • 100 foot waterfall!!!!

My Experience

As we drove through the gate, a park ranger came out to chat with us. He gave us great advice and told us exactly what to do. For a spontaneous trip, this was extremely helpful. The start to the trail exceed my expectations with a babbling brook. Then in the first couple of minutes we came to a slight obstacle.

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Man-made plank with railing to cross the babbling brook. Credit: Anna Hoffman

My friends and I found this “log” extremely fun, but this would be difficult for families with young children. The hike was also rated “difficult,” so not the most family friendly. The inclination was intense, but the steep steps were completely worth it because the waterfall was breathtaking.

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My pals and me posing on the waterfall! A random Clemson student took this photo for us, so lots of friendly people on the hike!

When we thought our day couldn’t get any better…it did. There was snow!!!! It was truly unreal. We were so excited and made snowballs. My friend Morgan (who despite the cold weather, wore shorts) laid completely in the snow because as a northerner she missed it so much!

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A happy northern gal sitting in shorts in the snow! Credit: Anna Hoffman

Rainbow Falls truly makes for the most splendid afternoon. No surprise that it is ranked as one of the most spectacular short hikes in the state. You are definitely going to want to add this adventure to your list!

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Swim at Your Own Risk

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Part of the upper waterfall at Triple Falls! Credit: Anna Hoffman

Don’t you want to slide down a waterfall?! A summertime must is going to Triple Falls. The perfect way to spend a hot summer’s day! Located in DuPont State Recreational Forest, Triple Falls is part of Little River Falls: featuring three cascades that make a 120 foot vertical drop.

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DuPont State Forest Map

Directions

Triple Falls is about a hour and ten minute drive from Furman; located 64 miles away in Blacksburg, SC. I love this drive because it is a scenic route up a beautiful mountain. A good playlist is a must with windows rolled down and sunroof open: belting out song lyrics with your friends.

What to bring!

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The belongings that I chose to bring were practical for my summer trip, but you may want to divvy it up if hiking on a colder day. In the image above, I included some of the items that I recommend, but obviously if you are a male, bringing a bikini would not be practical!

  1. Towel
    • An absolute must if you are planning to swim! Also can serve as a picnic blanket to sit on.
  2. Day pack
    • I used my over-the-shoulder black patagonia bag. Its all you need to fit the necessities because you most definitely do not want to overpack.
  3. Swimsuit
    • You only need a swimsuit if you plan on swimming in the waterfalls, which is a nice way to cool off!
  4. Snack
    • We brought Publix sandwiches (pub-subs) on our trip because we had a picnic lunch. You don’t need an entire meal, but bring a snack just incase you get hungry!
  5. Patagonia shorts
    • I chose to wear Patagonia shorts  because they are durable and water repellent. This is a good alternative piece to wear if you don’t want to bring a swimsuit.
  6. Chacos
    • Personally, I prefer chacos because they are durable water shoes, but truly any brand would be completely fine. The hike is 2.3 miles, so being comfortable is the main priority.
  7. Sunglasses
  8. Water bottle
    • Now this is a must, especially on a hot day! Hydrations equals happiness.

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Picnic lunch of pub-subs on the rocks with Triple Falls in the background! Credit: Anna Hoffman

Post Picnic

After we refueled with lunch, we decided to take a dip in the waterfalls. The water was pretty frigid, but refreshing after our hike in the hot, humid summer weather. My favorite part was climbing up the big rocks and sliding down them into the water. You do need to be careful of where you jump though because you never know how deep the water is and where all the rocks are! So definitely swim at your own risk!!

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Sarah and me carefully sliding down the slippery rocks! Credit: Sophie Blasberg
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Side view of Triple Falls with people swimming in the background. Credit: Anna Hoffman

Overall, I would highly recommend this hike. The distance is short, so very practical for families. The view is breathtaking, but swimming is not for the faint-hearted. Totally worth it though!