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Lake Jocassee in South Carolina

Trip Overview

Location Description: Lake Jocassee SC.

Beautiful, 1700 acre lake, bordered by state and national parks/forests. Three hour drive from Charlotte, NC (my home) near junction of SC, NC and GA. Only access point is Devil's Fork State Park. Virtually no signs of civilization aside from the dam and spillways. Crystal clear water and mountains views. There are at least five waterfalls you can paddle to.

Trip Description:

Friday Night:
Last minute thing. Late arrival. Departed at boat ramp by ranger station at 9:05 pm. The campground is two miles across the lake. My GPS, deck compass nor headlamp were not working. It took me 2 hours to find the campground. Even lost in the dark, it was a serene paddle experience. Water was pancake flat water. Lots of stars. This is a simple paddle in the daytime, 40 minutes. Was tempted to make my own campsite, but finally nestled in to camp just after midnight.

Water was crystal clear near shore and azure blue throughout. On the water at 9 am headed toward Wright Creek Falls, 3.7 coast hugging miles away. Flat water. Temperatures in 80s and sunny. Zero wind until midday. Views were stunning. No sign of man, except an occasional electrical tower. The lake was at full pond. Very little powerboat action.

Wright Creek Falls was not the most spectacular but very rewarding. After viewing the Falls, I started looking for a place to beach. Slim pickings, with the lake so full. I soldiered on to Lower White Water Falls. Nice.

Finally, found an island to beach on for stretch break and lunch. Five kayaks pulled up while I was there, got some good information. Made my way back to campsite for some hammock reading, campfire time and short hike. It was just under 12 miles paddling. There are plenty of water falls to explore. Bugs weren't an issue yet.

Woke up to heavy rain and thunderstorms. Waited till thunder died down. Got on the water at 9 am. Paddled back to put in warm rain with some wind and a little thunder. It was still an awesome view.

Cost: $46 for two nights online through the SC State Parks home page.


Double Springs (boat-only access):

If staying at Double Springs campgrounds, must bring own water and toilet paper. Also, the north borders of the lake are national park/forests. You can probably get backpacking permits for free or cheap. Give yourself plenty of daylight to paddle across the lake and find the camp.

According to Devil's State Park website, must reserve 2 nights minimums at $23 per night. Primitive with flat crushed gravel tent pad, lantern post and fire pit. Pit toilet and no water. Only one sign. Nice views of cove and lake.

There is also regular tent and RV camping at Devil's Fork State Park main area.


Sea kayak (Necky Looksha 17).

I'd recommend sea or touring kayaks. Distances are long and wind can whip up a chop on the lake.


Address: 161 Holcombe Circle, Salem SC 29676

Driving Directions:
• From I-85 at the GA line: Take exit 1 to Hwy 11 for approx. 40 miles, turn left on Jocassee Lake Rd, and travel 3 mi.

• From I-85 at the NC line: Travel south to Hwy 11 exit at Gaffney and proceed on Hwy 11 for approx. 90 miles, turn right on Jocassee Lk. Rd and travel 3 miles.

• From I-26: Take exit 5 onto Hwy 11 to Campobello. Travel for approximately 60 mi. Turn rt. on Lake Jocassee Rd., and travel 3 mi.


Kingfisher Lake Keowee and Jocassee Map (available at park store and Lake Jocassee Outdoors, just outside Devil's Fork State Park) and compass and GPS.

To explore the nether regions you need a GPS. All the coves and mountain peaks look alike. You can get remote and alone real quick.

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

Locations on this Trip