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Toll Road Falls

Toll Road Falls
Toll Road FallsDan Goodwin

Toll Road Falls is seldom documented. It does not appear in any of the printed SC waterfall guides and even internet research will reveal only a couple of references. Frequent hikers of Jones Gap Trail in Jones Gap State Park will be familiar with the cascade, even if they do not know it is named. It is easily memorable because it is a pretty little waterfall at a significant point on the trail.

Although only about 12 feet high, an unnamed stream comes down a series of tiers, starting as a narrow flow on the side of the rock face. About half way down, the water moves onto two very large, flat tiers that spread the flow across the full width of the stream. To each side are large rocks to frame the water flow. A huge boulder serves as a backdrop to the left, cutting off most the view upstream.

The hike is straight forward. From the Jones Gap State Park parking lot, cross over the Middle Saluda River, pass the old hatchery pond and park headquarters. Turn left to cross the bridge to the blue-blazed trailhead for Jones Gap Trail. At 1 mile, you will cross the river on the John Reid Clonts Memorial Bridge. At 1.1 miles, you pass the short spur trail to Jones Gap Falls. At 1.4 miles, Ben’s Sluice appears on your left. At 1.8 miles is the Coldspring Branch Trail intersection. Here, the trail swings away from the river, following a feeder stream back into a cove. As the trail gets to the back of the cove, it cross the stream on a footbridge built in 2003 by the William Goodman Troop 245 Eagle Scouts. Toll Road Falls is right at the bridge.

While Toll Road Falls is a pretty little thing and the hike, with the river and associated water features along the way, a well-kept secret lies only 50 yards away. But that's a topic for another article.

Note: Toll Road Falls gets its name from Jones Gap Road, a toll road built up through the Middle Saluda valley across to Cedar Mountain, NC as an access to Brevard. The toll road was built in 1840 by Solomon Jones, this writer’s great-great-great-great-grandfather.