Plunging waterfalls, rugged river gorges, sheer rock walls and one of the greatest concentrations of rare and unique species in the eastern United States are found within Gorges State Park. An elevation that rises 2,000 feet in only four miles, combined with rainfall in excess of 80 inches per year, creates a temperate rain forest and supports a collection of waterfalls.
On April 29, 1999, thanks to a unique partnership of industry, the environmental community and the state of North Carolina, 10,000 acres of the Jocassee Gorges in Transylvania County were placed in public ownership to be preserved for future generations of North Carolinians. The property was purchased by the state from Duke Energy Corporation, and the transaction created a 2,900-acre gameland managed by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. Currently, Gorges encompasses nearly 7,500 acres and is the only state park west of Asheville.
Gorges State Park opened its new 7,100 square-foot Visitor Center on October 12th 2012. The Center was designed and built to national green building standards. Additionally two large picnic shelters with restrooms, and a maintenance facilities were completed. The Visitor Center is home to the park offices, large exhibit hall, a 75-person auditorium, 40-person classroom, and large covered wrap around decks offering outstanding southern views of the escarpment and park. The center currently under review for "GOLD" status by the national Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.