Lake Jocassee is surrounded by more than 7,000 acres of mostly undeveloped land. It has only one access through the Devil’s Fork State Park with only one hiking trail or by getting a boat to access more remote areas.
Visitors can hike at Lake Jocassee on the mile-long Oconee Bell Nature Trail located within the park. Nearby, you can take a 2-mile hike to Lower Whitewater Falls, a 15-minute walk along Reedy Cove Creek to Twin Falls, or explore the 1.7-mile trail into a mountain gorge in the Eastatoe Creek Heritage Preserve.
Due to the size of the lake and it’s surrounding areas, visitors will find themselves on a boat. The lake features three public access boat ramps to allow pontoons and boats onto the water. Visitors can enjoy different water activities like swimming in the Jocassee Gorges waterfalls, taking a waterfall tour on the lake, participating in water sports, or kayaking in upper or lower lake areas. Visitors can also bring their own boat, go on a pontoon tour or pay for a shuttle service to get around.
The lake is also popular for trout fishing. People come to fish at Lake Jocassee because it offers something for every skill level. You can cast with a traditional rod and reel, troll the lake for deep-water fish or fly fish the streams for bass and trout.
Lake Jocassee is the only lake in South Carolina offering both trophy trout and smallmouth bass. It is home to the current state records for redeye bass, smallmouth bass, spotted bass, brown trout, and rainbow trout.
The lake doesn’t only offer beautiful waterfalls and clear water, there are several areas around the lake with unobstructed views. The first is Jumping Off Rock, which is part of the Jocassee Gorges. This spot offers astonishing views of Lake Jocassee and the surrounding mountains. The other is Sassafras Mountain, which is the highest point in the state. From this spot, visitors can see North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee on clear days. Sassafras Mountain features an overlook, which is accessible by cars, just below the high point. There is also a short pathway from the parking lot to a viewing platform at the top of the mountain.
Lake Jocassee is also a popular diving destination. It is considered to be one of the world’s top 25 fresh water diving spot according to Scuba Diving Magazine. The most visited diving spot on the lake is the “Wall.”
Another area to explore is the “Chinese Junk,” a 40-foot wooden sail boat imported from China sitting upright adjacent to the 165 foot drop and allows ample room for swim through.