The Mountain Bridge Passage is a somewhat new trail near the Jones Gap Area in an area called the Ashmore Heritage Preserve. The Ashmore Heritage Preserve was created as a partnership between the Naturaland Trust, SC Department of Natural Resources, and SC Parks, Recreation & Tourism. It covers about 1100 acres.
I am very sad to report that Becky, my hiking partner for the past year, can no longer go on regular hikes with me. She took a new job which does not allow for any days off during the week, so if we go again, it’ll have to be on a weekend. I promise to be in shape the next time we go hiking. So I turned to my friend from church who said she would love to go hiking – Emily! Emily has no affiliation to Girl Scouts whatsoever, but that did not stop me from talking Girl Scouts with her! But it turns out that Emily talks more than me on hikes, if you can believe that! 😉
We went on this hike at the end of October before the wildfires started up in earnest. This area wasn’t affected. I found this particular trail on my Jones Gap Area map because Emily didn’t want to do anything too strenuous, but I wanted it long enough to make it worthwhile. This trail was a perfect choice. It begins right off of Highway 276 past Marietta, SC (headed north). There are a couple of different trailheads, but we started at the one closest to 276. Eventually it winds its way up to the Pinnacle Pass Trail which leads you up to Jones Gap. We only hiked the first half to the gate.
We arrived on a crisp fall day – a beautiful one for a hike. And off we went!
Almost immediate we came across the largest ferns I had ever seen in my life and made Emily take a picture of me with them to prove how large they were! Were we in the amazon?
We arrived at the loop around Wattacoo Lake. It’s small but beautiful! Fall was a perfect time to take a picture of the granite outcropping overlooking the lake.
I wish I had read this article before we went on the hike, because I would have made note of the pitcher plants. I’ll definitely be coming back at some point to check them out. As you can see on the map, there’s another parking area close to the lake loop, so if you want to just check out the lake without a longer hike, just drive up Persimmon Ridge Road and park there. This would be a neat little trip with children, although they might whine some on the way out while going back up the steep logging road. Emily will tell you I did not whine. No Rainbow Falls flashbacks!
We went around the Wattacoo Lake Loop and got back on the Mountain Bridge Passage Trail and headed upwards. At first I underestimated this trail and thought it would be about like the ones at Paris Mountain where there’s not much scenery and kind of boring if you’re expecting something like you would find up in the mountains. But I was wrong! A little over halfway between the Wattacoo Lake Loop and the gate at Persimmon Ridge Road, we started coming across some granite outcroppings. They aren’t the ones you see in the picture of Wattacoo Lake though. But this one had water trickling down from it. We were in the midst of an extended drought, so I wonder if it’s a little more dramatic during the regular season. This picture doesn’t really do it justice to show how large it is:
Next we came across a trickling waterfall. I guess it was supposed to be a waterfall? Like the outcropping, I’d be interested to see what it looks like normally when we’re not in a drought.