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Jacob Fork Rim – South Mountains State Park, NC


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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
16.1 mls
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7 hours with 1 hour of breaks or 2 days for backpacking
3,261 ft
South Mountains State Park
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Park at Jacob Fork parking access. 35.60178, -81.62956

By Trail Contributor: Zach Robbins ()

Think of this hike as framework for exploring the interior of South Mountains State Park, often a desolate, deserted region of the largest state park in North Carolina. The main attraction here is High Shoals Falls, and at some point during the trip you’ll pass it once, maybe twice if you improvise. However, other than the hike to Chestnut Knob, the rest of the trails see few hikers. In addition to publishing a great park map, the trails are well-blazed and typically follow old forest roads.

It is almost impossible to get lost here, or get stuck in a dangerous situation. This is an excellent opportunity to take a beginner’s backpacking trip or test out some new gear before that big national park trip. The campsites are outstanding, located beside water courses, and never seem to be full. The hike described is a long day hike or an overnight trip that would include the Murray Branch Campsites, Fox Trail Campsites, or Jacob Branch Campsites. This big loop includes a lonely, punishing trip to Benn Knob, one of the tallest peaks in the South Mountains and on the list of many NC peak baggers. Take the Fox Trail at mile 3.8 to skip this section and still end up at one of the great campsites far away from civilization.

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