EXCELLENT day trip destination or tour stop. Great roads leading into and away from the park. 80 Foot waterfall and 40 miles of hiking trails will give you a reason to bring hiking shoes and get off the bike for a couple of hours. A small primitive campsite area is available on the park road and several hike in areas. Beautiful area.. bring your camera and be ready to lean through the twistys.
A Very Rough and Scenic Park . . .
For avid riders, just getting to South Mountains State Park is the start of a great day. Area roads are full of scenic vistas, twistys, and lots of good hills. Old NC-18 from Morganton to the park is wild, and will test your ability to quickly down shift to maintain best control over your ride. OLD NC-18 is found off Exit 104 from I-40. Cross to the north side of the Interstate and turn right on Old NC-18. It's marked, but you can easily miss it. The more sedate route over the new highway is found at Exit 105 and is clearly marked.
Solo riders and small groups are easily accommodated in the parking areas at all times of year. Large groups may find the park crowded during the summer months. This is an equestrian park and horses are given the right of way at designated crossings. The park entry road is marked from 10 to 25 MPH. A new visitor center opened in 2007 and the adjacent parking area has many large trees to shield your parked motorcycles from the sun. If you intend to spend time hiking pay attention to the security of your ride - this can be a busy park and the rangers may not be able to patrol the area adequately. There is no fee to enjoy this wonderful park.
The Upper Falls trail just under two miles long and a fun hike. It meanders along the Jacob Fork River and the first half is reasonably easy, even through it use a lot of native rock as the footpath. The last half is only for those that can endure quick elevation changes and a slippery pathway. Please, don't try this if you have bad knees, a weak heart, clogged lungs, or other maladies that hinder your abilty to expend lots of energy in a short period of time. This is a ROUGH
Shutterbugs that carry a lot of gear should consider it carefully before starting the trek up to the falls. The path is wide and well marked, but the sharp rises in elevation will easily overwhelm those not in excellent shape. Sometimes the path runs across wet rocks and it's very slippery.
Click HERE for official NC Parks website