Many people have a list of places they have or would like to travel to. The vibrant blue waters of the Pacific Ocean; the snowcapped mountains of the Swiss Alps; perhaps a rainforest rich in flora and fauna. Well, thankfully for residents of the upstate in South Carolina, the last request is an easy one! There is the Appalachian temperate rainforest in the Eastern United State – spreading across southwestern Virginia, western North Carolina, northern Georgia, eastern Tennessee and northern South Carolina. For South Carolina, it is in the Jim Timmerman Natural Resources Area at Jocassee Gorges. This area has a cool and mild climate and is classified as a perhumid temperate rainforest. It has been reported that this rainforest harbors the only United States location of the tunbridge filmy fern from South America!
One of the main recreational uses of this rainforest is the Appalachian Trail, with 2,000 miles of trails from Georgia to Maine running through. There are also many scenic rivers flowing in this lush environment. One is the Eastatoe Creek. This pristine creek harbors native brook trout and eventually becomes compressed into a small but very deep crack in the creek bed known as The Narrows. This creates large plumes of mist that fill the Eastatoe Gorge and thus allowing the incredible array of ferns and other plants to exist. If you are feeling adventurous and would like to hike to The Narrows, click here to view the directions.
For more information about this area, check out the Jocassee Gorges Visitor Center in Keowee-Toxaway State Park. Housed in a building with its own history, the former Holly Springs Baptist Church, this visitor center has many exhibits that tell of the natural history plus some of the cultural stories of the area. Check the park website here for hours of operation.