Devil’s Fork State Park is a 622-acre state park in South Carolina that was first developed in 1990. It sits near the coast of Lake Jocassee, a crystal clear 7,565-acre lake just a little over seven miles northwest of the small town of Salem, SC. The winding roads to the park may be a bit daunting in a large RV or when towing a boat, but it is well worth the trip. There are many ways in which to enjoy the lake itself, including boating, fishing, and even scuba diving. When the lake was created just a few decades ago, many man-made structures were submerged in the waters as well, and the buildings can still clearly be seen underneath the water.
This park also boasts several hiking trails, many waterfalls and cascades, and a variety of wildlife, including songbirds, white-tailed deer, foxes, waterfowl, and the occasional Peregrine Falcon. When hiking in Devil’s Fork State Park in the spring, take note of the abundance of rare Oconee Bell flowers, particularly along the Oconee Bell Trail. This is also a great park for RV campers who bring along their canine companions as well-behaved, leashed dogs are allowed on both the trails and the beaches.
Devil’s Fork State Park is located in a remote, rural area near the border of South Carolina and Tennessee. While there are many natural areas, campgrounds, and even some stores in the area, the closest actual town is that of Salem, SC, just a little over seven miles southwest of the campground. The roads in this remote area of South Carolina tend to be rather narrow and contain many twists and turns. While it is not precisely big rig friendly, the roads are well paved and with a little care can be safely navigated, even with a boat in tow.
There is ample parking for big rigs and boats near the water as Lake Jocassee is a popular spot for fishing and boating, but the roads in the campground itself are narrow and challenging to traverse. If you are in the mood to have a more rustic experience for a night or two this may be a good opportunity to bring your tent along with you in the campervan, especially if you have a boat. There are several secluded tent-only campsites here as well, a few of which can only be reached by boat.
The campground at Devil’s Fork State Park has 59 standard campsites suitable for either tent or RV camping. Each standard campsite is equipped with a 12 x 12 elevated tent pad, a picnic table, a fire ring, and water and electric hookups. The bathroom and shower facilities are nearby the campground and are well-maintained. While most of these campsites can accommodate a rig up to 40 feet, a few of them are only suitable for a 30-foot rig or a popup trailer.
A maximum of two vehicles are allowed at each site, and all vehicles are required to remain on the paved portions of the standard sites. Generator use is allowed during the daytime but prohibited during quiet hours, between 10 PM and 7 AM. Pets are welcome in most areas of the park, as long as they are on a six-foot or shorter lead or are confined. While pets are prohibited from visiting the cabins or the villa areas, they are allowed to join you on hikes or at the beach.
Devil’s Fork State Park is a fantastic place to pursue photography. There are a variety of scenic views from the lake and trails, including spectacular views of the waterfalls and cascades that are scattered throughout the park. This park is also home to more than 90% of the specimens of a rare and beautiful flower, the Oconee Bell, a spring-blooming wildflower that is indigenous to the Carolinas. Wildlife is also abundant here, and there is a good chance you will have the opportunity to capture images of animals like wild turkeys, white-tailed deer, and foxes, and if you are lucky you may even get a shot of a rare peregrine falcon.
Geocaching is a worldwide scavenger hunt made possible by modern cell phones and GPS technology. Players search for caches or containers that are hidden by other players, utilizing GPS tracking to get close to the goal, then observational skills to locate the hidden cache. Inside each cache is a logbook or logsheet, and in many cases caches also contain small trinkets which the player can take and replace with a similar item. There are typically several caches hidden in Devil’s Fork State Park, and some caches also have trackable tokens that are meant to move from place to place, making this an excellent hobby for active RVers.
Scuba Diving is particularly interesting in Lake Jocassee. The water is very clear so divers are often able to see as far as 30 feet from themselves. This lake was created less than a century ago and along with the abundant underwater wildlife and beautiful plants that grace the bottom of the lake, there are several unusual sights to be found. There are underwater forests to explore, as well as houses, shops, and even a graveyard that were submerged when the lake was created.
There are three main trails in Devil’s Fork State Park that are open for hiking when you stay in your campervan or RV. The Oconee Bell Trail is an easy, one-mile loop that starts near the entrance of the park. It is particularly spectacular in the early spring when the rare and beautiful Oconee bellflowers are in bloom. The Bear Cove Trail is an easy-to-moderate loop of about two miles that travels through the hardwood forests, with a gorgeous view of the lake at a small beach about halfway through the hike. The Laurel Fork Trail is a short hiking path that is only accessible by boat, with a trailhead that can be challenging to find. This hike ends with a spectacular view overlooking cascading waterfalls, making it well worth the effort.
Lake Jocassee is also a great place to go fishing, and the only place in South Carolina that offers both trophy trout and smallmouth bass, so be sure to pack your fishing gear in the campervan or trailer. Opportunities abound for both boat and shore fishing of all types, and the state records for several types of fish have been caught at this lake. Species in the lake include brown and rainbow trout, white, redeye, smallmouth, and largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, sunfish, and deep-water catfish. Guided fishing tours are also available within the park.
The campground at Devil’s Fork State Park sits near Lake Jocassee, a 7,565-acre lake with a beautiful natural shoreline. It is a popular boating destination for anything from kayaks to somewhat larger pontoons and fishing boats. The water is crystal clear and reaches a depth of over 300 feet in some parts of the lake. There are four boat ramps near the campgrounds, as well as places to rent kayaks, canoes, and pontoons in the park itself. The level of the water fluctuates a great deal, so leaving your boat on the water overnight is not recommended.