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Lake Jocassee in South Carolina

Trip Overview

We spent mid-week at Devils Fork State Park in order to get the reduced rate on the wonderful cabins there during the off-season. Lake Jocassee, a 7500 acre lake developed by Duke Power in the early 1970's, is a diverse eco-system featuring crystal clear waters and a maxium depth of 385 feet. Traveling from Columbia, South Carolina, the lake is about three hours north, not far from the North Carolina border.

The weather, perfectly clear and in the upper 70's couldn't have been better, especially for November. The Fall foliage was at its peak, reflecting all the shades of reds and yellows from the Blue Ridge Foothills to the shoreline of Lake Jocassee.

Large lake trout could be seen maybe 20 feet down while an 80 foot rock cliff stood looming above our minuscule kayaks. Very few boats were on the water. We paddled around the eastern shore for about five hours before heading back for an evening steak dinner on the backyard grill.

Unfortunately, due to the drought, the lake is down a good ten feet, but it hasn't diminished its beauty. The shores are a mix of boulders, ledge, and sandy beaches spread along the 75 mile shoreline. Just above the shoreline hardwood forests in peak color are interspersed with pines and mountain laurels.

Wildlife management areas adjacent to the lake provide habitat for deer, bears, and other native animals. In the distance we could hear the occasional cry of a Peregrine Falcon.

Rather than kayaking the second day, we decided to hike a 3.5 mile trail which was no less inspiring than the water trip the day before.


We stayed in a 5-room villa overlooking the lake. We had a fire in the fireplace the second night. The villas are completely furnished.


Old Town Cayuga 146 touring kayaks.


Villas cost about $70-90 a night during mid-week seasonal specials.


From Columbia take I-26W to I-385N to Greenville. Then take SC-183 to US-178 in Pickens. The Hwy 11SW to Lake Jocassee. Follow the signs to Devils Fork State Park from there.


Do not use MapQuest. You can't get there from here. The SC State Highway map was easier to follow.

  • Duration: 2-3 Day Trip
  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: Flat/Sheltered Water
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip