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Difficulty III-V
Length 1 Miles
Flow Range 3.25 - 5.00 FT
Flow Rate as of: 1 hour ago 2.14 [FT] ℹ️ ⚠️
Reach Info Last Updated 01/08/2013 12:40 am

River Description

You must complete a permit to paddle the Middle Saluda within the state park.  Permit requires your driver's license and car tag number.  Includes intsructions on approved put-in and takeout points and applicable rules.  This is a state trout stream and removal of wood is prohibited.  The highest approved put-in is approximately a one mile walk above the park headquarters.  
WARNING!!! There is lots of wood - some easy to see and some waiting just below the surface on this stream.  This is a tight, very busy little creek that commands your attention.  

Directions: Take 276 N out of Greenville, and a few miles after Hwy 11 joins in, turn Right at the F-Mart (small brown country store with a Pepsi Sign--"Best Hotdogs In Town", and they're telling the truth), and follow this road straight a nubmer of miles all the way into the park.

Description: This is all out tight, technical, boney, boulder infested continuous creeking. DON'T GET SIDEWAYS. It is far from hair, lacks anything huge and of Tao's enjoyment, but is still enough to get the blood pumping.

Park at the parking lot or in "camper" parking if it's during the week, and be sure to register at the park office after checking the flow. If there's enough water in the park, there should be enough upstream for a ways. Try to catch it during a serious downpour or after a number of days of rain.

After you've started up the trail, start scouting, because eddies are going to be few and small. Be sure to check out the stream falling off the mountain on Hiker's Left about a mile up the trail. The river leaves and rejoins the trail several times. Once you're in the water, keep it pointed downstream, and catch whatever eddies you can find.

The only drops I can note are both near the end of the run. One is a huge boulder clog (Razorback), which looks runnable on the far right side down 2 or 3 steps, and then picking your way through the runnout. Stay out of the trees on the left and the clog in the left middle. The only problem it seems with the steps is that if you fall off the right side of one of them, you end up in a terminal seive. Be careful.

The second is actually in the park after the large wooden bridge but before the metal footbridge. It's like a huge slab had a diagonal slice about 3 feet wide cut out of it from top left to bottom right. You have a class II approch, and a small eddie in the pool on river right above the slot. The right slab is undercut, so a missed line will result in lost teeth or a nice bloody nose. You run up on the left slab, and fall off into the pool below. Beware of the f-up rocks right at the lip if the level is marginal. The total drop is only 3 or 4 feet, but can look pretty serious. Hit the water with a strong push to the left and drop through the slot and find a place to take out.

From the park office to the highest allowed put-in is approximately 1.0 miles. The river drops right at 240 fpm. Above the allowed put-in, the river gets really steep, dropping over 420 feet in the mile above the confluence. Check the topo maps and you will see that most of that gradient happens in less than a mile.
Below the park office, the next 2.1 miles drop approximately 99 fpm.

Wood on this creek is a serious concern, as the slots are narrow, and the banks are weak and prone to drop whole trees into the river. Scout when you can, and don't bang ahead, as eddies are few and far between, and you may be in the meat and maw before you know it.

Jones Gap State Park

Rapid Descriptions

Lower bridge put in

Class - III Mile - 0

This is the put in for the hike up run.

The action starts

Class - N/A Mile - 0.01

After the put in bridge rapid the action starts right away.

Typical rapid

Class - III Mile - 0.1

About 100 yards from the put in is your first typical rock garden rapid. The easy line is on the left around the rocks and over a few drops.


Class - IV Mile - 0.4
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

A serious boof with some undercut rocks and pinning potnetial.

Rock Jam

Class - III Mile - 0.55

Razorback second view

Class - 5.0 Mile - 0.6


Class - 5.0 Mile - 0.6

Razorback is by far the most serious rapid on the river. Scout this one on the hike since you might not notice and stop until it is too late.

Ledges out

Class - III Mile - 0.61

Below Razorback are a few ledges.

The Slot

Class - III+ Mile - 0.78

Perhaps one of the more visable birg drops on the river. A good boof on river right.


Class - III+ Mile - 0.8

After the slot the river keep going with some tight slots.

Footbridge rapid

Class - III Mile - 0.8

The final shoals before the first takeout bridge. Most people will continue downstream for a few more good rapids.

State Park Rapid (Boof and Boogie)

Class - IV+ Mile - 0.9

View of the rapid a good flows

State Park Rapid (Boof and Boogie)

Class - IV+ Mile - 0.9

Final plunge of State Park Rapid

State Park Rapid (Boof and Boogie) from below

Class - IV+ Mile - 0.9

View from below

State Park Rapid (Boof and Boogie)

Class - IV+ Mile - 0.9

One of the larger drops on the river is right across teh path from the Park HQ. This drop has everything: wood, no eddies, tight slots, and undercuts.


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Garrick Taylor
7 years ago

Ran most of this section this spring. It does still require a permit and you will need your car tag info and your driver's license number for the permit. Can take a little while to get it all filled out and the run drops out super fast. Super tight little creek run. Lots of wood to be avoided and portaged - stop to scout when on your way up. I would recommend at least 3 in the group. Have a couple of folks paddle down while 1 is on shore for support. Boat down a short distance and rotate spots while the shore support boats on down. We didn't finish due to a pin on some hidden wood in a drop. Wasn't a bad situation but it could have been. High quality run that I can't wait to hit again with a slightly larger crew.

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9 years ago

The Middle Saluda is now open to paddlers. Be sure to sign in at the Ranger station.

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11 years ago

Are you using the french broad gage to correlate the levels in cfs or does the french broad have to be going huge.

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13 years ago

philippe, if i understand correctly what you are asking, the location of the upper trailhead, then go past ceasars' head and past raven cliff falls parking. gated trailhead will be between there and the state line, on right, kinda hidden at an angle. also a trail into the gorge down from raven cliff parking, though steeper. backside of parking lot.


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13 years ago

can anyone help me figure out where to start walkin down from 276 to access the upper section

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17 years ago

I spoke with a ranger today and was told there were no problems with accessing the run but he was unaware of many successful trips on the upper rapids.

Gage Descriptions

If you've got a short creeker and are really dedicated, you can make this run happen around 3.25, but you run a lot of pinning risk. The upper parts are pretty concentrated and should be good to go at anything above this.

Directions Description

Park in the parking lot, complete a permit at the park office, then start hiking upstream.

No Accident Reports






Garrick Taylor


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1193613 08/12/06 wreeves
1201740 01/08/13 Garrick Taylor