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History

Toxaway River at Gorges State Park. Photo by A. Coburn.
Home >> Gorges State Park >> History

Map of North Carolina – Gorges State Park


Contact the park
 

828-966-9099

gorges@ncparks.gov
 

Addresses
 

Visitor center

976 Grassy Ridge Road
Sapphire, NC 28774

GPS: 35.0960, -82.9510

 

Frozen Creek access

Frozen Creek Road
Brevard, NC 28712

GPS: 35.1086, -82.8837
 

Hours
 

► 

  • December to February:
    7:00am to 7:00pm
     
  • March to April:
    7:00am to 9:00pm
     
  • May to September:
    7:00am to 10:00pm
     
  • October:
    7:00am to 9:00pm
     
  • November
    7:00am to 8:00pm
     
  • Closed Christmas Day
     

► 

  • December to February:
    7:00am to 6:30pm
     
  • March to April:
    7:00am to 8:30pm
     
  • May to September:
    7:00am to 9:30pm
     
  • October:
    7:00am to 8:30pm
     
  • November
    7:00am to 7:30pm
     
  • Closed Christmas Day
     

► 

  • Open daily:
    9:00am to 5:00pm
     
  • Closed Christmas Day
     

 

 

 

History highlights

Although you might feel removed from civilization while walking deep into the Gorges wilderness, evidence of past human interference with the environment surrounds you.

One of the most damaging interferences to the Gorges environment occurred in 1916 when the dam containing Lake Toxaway - the largest private lake in the state - broke. Record amounts of water gushed southward down the river, destroying the communities in its path, scouring the gorges and leaving piles of debris 15 to 20 feet high. These debris piles still remain.

After the flood, local citizens eventually sold large land tracts in the Gorges to Singer Sewing Machine Company, which logged most of the land. Then, in the 1940s and 1950s, Singer sold the land to Duke Energy Corporation. The corporation purchased the land for its steep topography and high rainfall, which offered opportunities for development of hydropower projects. Crescent Land and Timber Corporation, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, managed the land, closing some roads and limiting human access to protect the environment.

Conservation studies began in the area in the late 1970s, and in 1982 nearly 275 acres of land that is currently in the park was placed on the NC Registry of Natural Heritage Areas because of the numerous rare species. In the late 1990s, Duke Energy determined that it no longer needed large portions of the Gorges for future hydropower and offered the land for sale to natural resources agencies in North and South Carolina. The NC Division of Parks and Recreation stepped up to create, with the support of local citizens and the General Assembly, a very exciting state park.

Park Maps and Brochures:

Upcoming Events:

Monday, June 27, 2022 - 1:00pm
Tuesday, June 28, 2022 - 1:00pm
Wednesday, June 29, 2022 - 10:00am