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Bartram Trail

osage overlook

2 miles one way | difficult

This segment of the Bartram Trail is strenuous due to an elevation gain

of 1100 ft. in just 2 miles. The views of Blue Valley to the South and

of Tessentee Valley to the North make this trek well worth it. You’ll

also pass a small waterfall at 0.8 miles into the hike on your way to an

old logging road. Turn right and follow this rocky road for approx. 0.6

miles to the short spur trail on the left which goes to the top of Scaly

Mountain (4804 ft). On top of Scaly there are three separate overlooks

with views of Tessentee Valley, Blue Valley and surrounding mountains.

The trail ends at the third overlook. This short but strenuous hike is

for experienced hikers due to the elevation change. If children are in

good physical shape, it would be a great workout and reward for them.

Appropriate shoes and clothing for this climb are recommended.

From the intersection of US 64 and Hwy 106 in Highlands, take Hwy

106 Southwest toward Dillard, GA for 5.5 miles to a paved overlook

area and trailhead to your left. Signage for “Hikers” just before you

reach the trailhead and sign reading “Nantahala National Forest Vista,

Osage Mountain” at the trailhead. You’ll park on the same side as the

overlook, but access the northbound Bartram Trail to Scaly Mountain

on the right side of Hwy 106, via a set of stairs and a small brown sign

with yellow lettering reading, “Bartram Trail” and an even smaller U.S.

Forest Service sign reading, “Bartram Trail to Hickory.”

Chattooga River Trail ToWhiteside Cove

6.25 miles one way | moderate to difficult

This is a beautiful, scenic trail following the Chattooga River upstream

from the Iron Bridge at Bullpen Road to Whiteside Church on

Whiteside Cove Road. (This hike, as stated, is a one-way hike that

starts and ends at different locations, so transportation arrangements

must be made unless a round-trip hike is done.) The trail can be steep

at points, but is not particularly difficult.

From Highlands proceed east on Main Street, which becomes Horse

Cove Road, for 4.5 miles to intersection with Bull Pen and Whiteside

Cove Roads. Turn right on Bull Pen Road and proceed 3.1 miles to the

Iron Bridge. Trailhead is on the left just before the bridge.

Chattooga Loop Trail

2 mile loop | moderate

The Chattooga River Loop Trail is a great hike for the entire family. It

is moderate in difficulty with a few inclines and obstacles to deal with

(fallen trees over trail, wet spots, rocky/root exposure). You’ll start at

what locals call the “Iron Bridge,” where you’ll park. The trailhead for

the “Loop” starts on the left side of the bridge and runs along the river

for just under one mile. You can stop along the shores of the river for a

picnic, swim, or to try your luck at fishing.

From Highlands, proceed east on Main Street, which becomes Horse

Cove Road, for 4.5 miles to the intersection with Bull Pen and Whiteside

Cove Roads. Turn right onto Bull Pen Road (#1178) and proceed for 3.1

miles to the Iron Bridge. The trailhead is on the left just before the bridge.

Cliffside Lake Recreational Area

Eight hiking trails, a six-acre lake, and two spectacular waterfalls

make Cliffside Lake Recreation Area and Van Hook Campground a

mecca for those who enjoy the outdoors. Approximately 4 miles

from the heart of Highlands in Nantahala National Forest, directly

across the street from the beautiful Cullasaja River. Up the hill from

the campground is Cliffside Lake Recreation Area, a tucked-away

haven of tranquility, where you can swim, fish, hike, and picnic.

There is a $4 per day parking fee per vehicle.

From Highlands, travel through town on Main Street heading toward

Franklin, NC, go approximately 4 miles on US 64W/NC28 and turn

right at sign for Cliffside Lake Recreation Area. (You will pass Dry

Falls on this route.)

Cliffside Loop

: This 0.75 mile trail encircles the lake, passes through

the campground, and crosses over the dam and beach area.

Cliffside Vista Nature Trail

: This trail travels one mile through a

hardwood forest and climbs to a ridgetop with a gazebo. Signs give

trail descriptions along the way. The trail becomes more difficult as

it continues along the ridge.

Clifftop Vista Trail

: This 1.5 mile trail follows the same path as the

Homesite Road Trail: This easy 1.5 mile trail starts near Cliffside Lake

Dam, follows Skitty Creek, and connects with a road that meets US

64 halfway between Dry and Bridal Veil Falls.

Pott’s Memorial Trail

: This easy 0.5 mile trail travels to a white pine