Anyone who is familiar with Horsepasture Road is either a bear hunter or a visitor to Jumping Off Rock. Horsepasture Road begins at US 178 above Pickens and runs some 18 to 20 miles through the Jocassee Gorges to end near Lake Keowee by turning into Cleo Chapman Highway.
The most frequented route to Jumping Off Rock is to take Horsepasture Road from US 178 about 10 miles to the Rock. It passes several nice overlooks, a bear hunters’ campsite, and even a stream where the rare Oconee Bells can be found. The road is rough, rutted and generally not recommended for anything but 4-wheel drive vehicles. But the view from Jumping Off Rock is worth it. 800 feet above Lake Jocassee, you can see for more than 20 miles with a 1800 view. Peregrine falcons can be seen soaring below you.
Even so, the 10 miles of bouncing and swerving can be daunting to any potential visit to the Rock. Sort of “There ought to be a better way.” Well, there is another way in and it doesn’t even really utilize Horsepasture Road.
To get there, take US 178 north from Pickens to Holly Springs and the intersection with SC 11. Left on SC 11 for 5 miles to Roy F. Jones Road on your right. Follow the road for about 2 miles until it swings sharply to the right and Granny Gear Road goes straight. You’ll immediately pass a fire station on your left followed by a power right-of-way. The road quickly intersects with Cleo Chapman Highway.
Turn left and you will quickly find Cane Creek Road on the right as shown on the map; however, this road is closed. What you are actually looking for is Shooting Tree Ridge Road. Unfortunately, this section of the road does not appear on the map but it intersects with Cleo Chapman Highway just a couple hundred yards away in the opposite direction. Switching to a satellite view, this early section of Shooting Tree Ridge Road can clearly be seen.
Once Shooting Tree Ridge Road merges with Cane Creek Road, the route can easily be followed on the map. It intersects with Horsepasture Road quite close to Jumping Off Rock. For those of you familiar with coming in from US 178, the intersection is between the Bear Hunters’ Camp and the rescue Helipad.
At the intersection, turn left, go through the power right-of-way, by the Helipad and down a short slope to parking for Jumping Off Rock.
While Shooting Tree Ridge Road is a little bit shorter route than Horsepasture Road, possibly by a couple of miles, the condition of the road is better.