The Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area is filled with waterfalls. One of the more fun day trips in the area is Jones Gap Falls in Jones Gap State Park. It’s easy to access and fun to hike. The park also features a ranger station with public restrooms, a parking lot, and picnic tables. You can spend the whole day in this family-friendly area. The parking fills up quickly on summer weekends, so get there early.
The hike to the falls is under 1.5 miles, making it around a 3-mile out-and-back. Over the course of that distance, the trail changes from a wide, canopied pathway to a narrow, rocky, pathway. The dense shade keeps the area cool enough that ice lingers long after the temperatures have warmed. The hike takes you alongside and eventually across the Middle Saluda River, so your feet might get wet. The falls are about fifty feet high and break in stages. Because of the near-constant shade and the cool, and moist breeze coming off the water, this is a perfect hike for the dog days of summer when the smothering heat and humidity keep most people indoors.
If you’re up for a more moderate-to-strenuous hike, you actually pass the 1.6-mile trail to Rainbow Falls on this hike. Tehn again, if you’re looking for strenuous, you may as well do the 6- or 8-mile (depending on which connecting trail you take) Rim Of The Gap/Pinnacle Pass loop on the other side of the valley. Mountain Bridge features a rich network of trails, so you could piece together hiking loops that include waterfalls like this one and Raven Cliff Falls.
If you like to hike to waterfalls in the area, you should check out Waterfall Hikes of Upstate South Carolina and North Carolina Waterfalls: A Hiking and Photography Guide. I own both of these books and highly recommend them for days when you want to get out of the house, but you don’t know where to go.