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Waterfall on Jacob Fork River at South Mountains State Park
Clear Creek Reservoir and Lakeview Trail    

The water level at Clear Creek Reservoir has been lowered to perform maintenance. Fishing and boating access may be affected through July 2021 by the low water levels as the current shoreline is muddy and rocky. 

Lakeview Trail includes at least one creek crossing that is difficult to cross safely without getting your feet wet during or immediately following heavy rain. Please plan ahead.

 Last updated on: Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Bridle trails:


Bike trails:


Map of North Carolina – South Mountains State Park

Contact the park



Jacob Fork access
and visitor center

3001 South Mountain Park Ave.
Connelly Springs, NC 28612

GPS: 35.5963, -81.6000


Clear Creek access
(day-use only)

5999 Branstrom Orchard St.
Morganton, NC 28655

GPS: 35.6424, -81.7524



  • 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


  • Open daily:
    8:00am to 5:00pm
  • Closed Christmas Day




Area information

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.