Shop Reservations Newsroom



Waterfall on Jacob Fork River at South Mountains State Park

South Mountains State Park  re-opened on January 1st to the public following the Chestnut Knob Fire.

Chestnut Knob and Shinny trails will remain closed for an indefinite period of time until a more thorough assessment can be done. Visitors will not be allowed to access either trail, until further notice. Thank you for your understanding and for helping park rangers keep everyone's visit safe and enjoyable by observing these trail closures.


 Posted on: Thursday, January 5, 2017 - 8:49am
Sawtooth Backcountry Hike In Due to Chestnut Knob trail closure   

Campers registering for Sawtooth Backcountry campsites will need to plan for a 3.7mile hike beginning on Little River Trail, continuing on Upper CCC Trail and then turning onto Sawtooth Trail. Please take this extra mileage into consideration when planning your trip. Chestnut Knob Trail is and will continue to be closed for an indefinite amount of time due to extreme tread damage and safety concerns. Park staff are currently planning to reroute sections of Chestnut Knob Trail. Chestnut Knob Overlook is still open from Sawtooth Trail.

 Posted on: Sunday, March 12, 2017 - 8:27am

South Mountains State Park is located in Burke County, 20.5 miles south of Morganton. From I-40, turn south on NC 18, travel 11.1 miles and make a right turn onto SR 1913 (Sugarloaf Road). Take SR 1913 to Old NC 18 4.3 miles and turn left. Travel 2.7 miles and make a right turn onto SR 1901 (Ward's Gap Road). The park is 1.4 miles off SR 1901 on SR 1904 (South Mountains Park Avenue).

Travel one mile from the beginning of South Mountain Park Avenue to the South Mountains State Park gate. 

Directions to Clear Creek Watershed

From South Mountains State Park, Jacob’s Fork Section, exit the park and go to stop sign. Turn LEFT onto Ward’s Gap Road. Go to next stop sign, turn LEFT onto Old Highway 18. Follow Old Highway 18 for approximately 5.2 miles to intersection with Enola Road on the LEFT, River Road on the right and Old Highway 18 continues straight. Turn LEFT onto Enola Road 6 miles to I-40. Exit WEST (LEFT) onto I-40. Take next exit 103. 

  1. Exit 103, turn LEFT at the light at the top of the ramp in direction of Rutherfordton. You will pass Ingles on your left and Lowes on your right. 
  2. Follow Highway 64 for approximately 5.1 miles to Jenkins Road. Turn LEFT onto Jenkins Road. 
  3. Follow Jenkins Road approximately 1/2 mile to Clark Loop. Turn RIGHT onto Clark Loop. 
  4. Once on Clark Loop, go .3 mile to “Y” intersection and take the RIGHT fork, Branstrom Orchard Road. 
  5. Follow Branstrom Orchard Road 0.3 mile to a gravel parking lot access on the left. 

This area of the park is not patrolled as frequently as other areas and there may be some risk of vandalism to parked vehicles. 

Directions to Henry River area

  1. At stop sign at the end of the park entrance road turn LEFT onto Ward’s Gap Road. 
  2. Follow Ward’s Gap Road for 1.3 miles until you reach a “T” intersection at Old Highway 18. Turn LEFT onto Old Highway 18. 
  3. Follow Old Highway 18 approximately 5.2 miles to intersection with Enola Road on the left, River Road on the right, and Old Highway 18 will continue straight. Turn LEFT onto Enola Road. 
  4. Follow Enola Road for 2.4 miles to Watershed Road. Turn LEFT onto Watershed Road. USE CAUTION, this road is VERY CURVY. 
  5. Approximately 4.7 miles Watershed Road will turn to dirt. (At this point a 4x4 vehicle with high ground clearance is highly recommended.) Travel 0.4 miles and the road will split. Take the right split down the hill. 0.2 miles you will see a road on the right leading to a parking area. 

NOTE: South Mountains State Park does not own property bordering the river. There are several parcels of private property. We have no control over adjoining property owners. 

This area of the park is not patrolled as frequently as other areas and there may be some risk of vandalism to parked vehicles. 

Get directions from Google.



South Mountains State Park

3001 South Mountain Park Avenue
Connelly SpringsNC 28612
Latitude: 35.596300
Longitude: -81.600000

Park Hours:

Open Daily (except Christmas Day) 7am
Closing Hours
December, January and February 7pm
November 8pm
March, April and October 9pm
May - September 10pm
Closed Christmas Day

Park Office
8am - 5pm weekdays and weekends
Closed Christmas Day