Camping Information : Camping is allowed only on designated campsites. Camping in other than designated areas may result in a fine. No drive up campsites are available on the park. There are no water or electricity provided at the campsites.
Camping Reservations : To make a backcountry trailside camping reservation, call toll-free 1-866-345-PARK (7275) or make it online by clicking Park Reservations. Reservations requested less than one (1) day in advance of check-in must be made directly through the park. For example: If today is Friday and you are making a reservation checking in on today, Friday, you must make the reservation by contacting the park directly.
Trailside Camping : The Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area offers trailside backcountry camping at 18 primitive sites. Fourteen sites provide fire pits, while four allow no fires. Permits are required, and camping is allowed in designated areas only.
Campers are asked to follow internationally recognized "leave no trace" camping practices. For more information on leave no trace practices, visit the official leave no trace ethics website.
Campers are asked to check-in at least two hours before dark in order to safely reach their campsites. Costs are $8-20/site/night.
Backcountry Group Camping: The Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area offers one backcountry group campsite. The group site can be reserved for 10-20 people. Reservations for the group campsite must be made by calling the park directly. Costs are $4.40 - 5.50/person/night. Registration is required.
PETS Pets : Pets are allowed in most outdoor areas provided they are kept under physical restraint or on a leash not longer than six feet. Owners will be asked to remove noisy or dangerous pets or pets that threaten or harass wildlife.
This wilderness area has a terrific trail system with waterfalls, overlooks, and more. I like it because I got to spend time beside the Middle Saluda River. I checked out the other campsites, and I decided to pick campsite 8 because it is right beside the river. You can hear the sounds all night long, which might be a disadvantage if the sound of running water makes you need to go to the bathroom. The best thing about site 8 is that it has more flat space than the other ones I saw, and it is fairly large. There are fire pits at the campsites, but you have to pack everything in. It is a relatively short hike to the campsites, but you won’t be taking the same things you would take for car camping. There is a shower and toilet, but they are back near the visitor’s center. I can’t pick one best thing about this state park, because when you have over sixty miles of trails and two waterfalls, it’s hard to pick. The only drawback this time was that the temperature in July is HOT, so having an electric fan is not an option. Fortunately, there was some cool air at night coming from the river. Rainbow Falls can be accessed by the Jones Gap Trail, which is the one that takes you to campsite 8. If you are staying in campsites 1-4, you will have to go through the parking lot to get to Jones Gap Trail. Likewise, sites 5, 6, and 7 are a short walk to Jones Gap Trail. Overall, camping at Jones Gap State Park is not for everybody since it is not for RV camping nor for car camping. However, if you like camping in earshot of rushing water, you will fall in love with this place.
Jones Gap gives you the feeling of really being deep in the Appalachians. The rushing river and dense foliage with tons of mountain laurel makes the air seem so fresh. I love just coming here and hiking upstream and playing in the river. Great camping spots, all are hike in. Not far, but not car camping at all.
Stayed at campsite #10. It sits about 50 yards up the hill from the main river running through the valley. It is of note that the trail is right by the river, so you will see people walk by and there isn’t any real greenery to block that, even in summer. It is however far enough from the nearest sites that you won’t hear or see anyone else after sundown unless they are hiking at night. The river is a great soundtrack for a nights sleep.
The pad that has been cleared isn’t perfectly level, but it’s fine. There are however a few large buried rocks that keep it from being as smooth as you might expect.
We did a short day hike to check out the camp sites and look at the waterfalls. We went on the weekend and was pretty late start so we did have to wait a good while to be let in the park - minor annoyance but it was OK. The trails and the park are so very well kept up! Was a beautiful day and hike. We are definitely coming back and looking into getting the year pass since it's so close to home.
I absolutely love this campground! It’s a bit of a longer hike to get to the primitive campsites but is worth its since it’s along a river for the most part and the sites are not that close to each other either. I haven’t seen many people camping during the winter months, although during the summer and fall it gets booked quickly. But make sure to call ahead of time because every time that we have called short notice they have been closed or booked. Nearby the visitor center are the bathrooms and fish hatchery (all of which are kept very clean).
I adored this area for its flora and fauna. As a wildlife enthusiast I was impressed with the amount of frogs, fish, salamanders, birds, and rabbits I saw in such a short amount of time. I arrived shortly after heavy rain which helped my herping odds. The trails were nice and clean and they few staff members I spoke to where incredibly helpful.
Excellent spot elevated above the Middle Saluda River after a day of exploration. Nice clearing to pitch a tent and kindle a fire, string up a hammock and relax to the tranquil sound of water over rock.
I would consider this park to be the most beautiful of all I have camped at. Tent camping only. Nice, private walk-in sites. Creek runs through park. Definitely no call service. Only an emergency call box if anything goes on at night. It's a pack in pack out park. No trash cans. Does have a nice bathroom that's kept clean. Would definitely return here.
I used site 7 because an oncoming storm made me bug out of my trailside plans. Gorgeous site, a bit chilly by the river but beautiful and close enough to still use the park bathrooms! Sites are large and have varying degrees of privacy. I didn’t realize the main park trail was right across the river, might have been a little shyer if I had! Restrooms are clean and well stocked. No trash cans in park; you’re expected to LNT your trash out. Very helpful staff. Will return.
Love the privacy of this spot (#8) which is the closest walk in spot from the Parking area. We were able to hike in a ton of gear (coolers, dog bed, etc (with a little work and a few trips) and it was worth it for the seclusiveness. Having both toddler and dog we knew we couldn’t go far but this still felt like we were in the middle of nowhere.
Spot is right on the river and a great place to catch some sun on the rocks or rock hop. There are several hike options right from your site including a nice little waterfall. You will find more camp spots as you hike throughout.
This was a beautiful area with a lot to do and we will definitely be returning.