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Sunset Rock

0.6 miles one way | easy

Enjoy a bird’s eye viewof the town from the top of Sunset Rock! A short

1/2-hour walk leads to a natural cliff side amphitheater where slabs

of granite provide front row seats. Beautiful sunsets can be seen over

Highlands and Brushy FaceMountain to thewest and the vista of Horse

Cove to the east (Sunrise Rock). To locate the trail, continue on Main

Street from the intersection of Hwy 28 and US 64 in Highlands. Go east

for 0.5 miles to the Highlands Nature Center on the left. Park here and

follow the sign indicating a gravel road to Sunset Rock and Ravenel Park.

Although the trail is marked “Hiking Trail Only” it is a private drive so do

not park as to block it. The road ends with Sunset Rock to the right.

Whiteside Mountain Hike

2 mile loop | moderate

Enjoy the amazing experience of one of America’s landmarks along

the Eastern Continental Divide. Whiteside Mountain rises to an

elevation of 4,930 feet and is the jewel of the Appalachians. Learn

the history and nature of this million-year-old rock as you hike the

“moderate” two mile round trip trail to the summit. Whiteside

Mountain is located midway between Cashiers and Highlands on

US 64, on the Jackson/Macon county line known as the “Big View”

overlook. Just west of the Jackson/Macon County line, turn onto

Whiteside Mountain Road (SR #1690) at the entrance to Wildcat

Cliffs Country Club (right turn coming from Highlands). Go one mile

to the well-marked parking area on the left. This is a fee area with the

National Forest Service. The charge is $2.00 per car. There is a limited

restroom facility located in the parking area.

Yellow Mountain/Shortoff Mountain

4.8 difficult miles one way (yellow Mtn)

1.5 easy miles (shortoff)

A short, easy hike to a view of the Buck Creek area; Shortoff

Mountain has views to the south. Yellow Mountain is a long hike

with a fair amount of climbing and views in all directions. Allow a

full day to complete this trail. The trail traverses three very beautiful

mountains: Cole, Shortoff and Yellow. The destination of this hike

is the spectacular panoramic vista seen from the top of Yellow

Mountain. To reach the trailhead take US 64 east from Highlands 3

miles and turn left onto Buck Creek Road and follow 2.3 miles. The

trail will be on the right, look for the steps at the trailhead.

We greatly appreciate the efforts of the Highlands-Cashiers

Land Trust in preserving our most treasured places.

For membership or sponsorship information,

please visit their website at


Quick and Easy

Highlands Botanical Garden Trails

0.1 to 0.2 miles each trail | multiple trails | easy

828-526-0188 • 930 Horse Cove Road • Highlands, NC

Nearly 500 species of mosses, ferns, wildflowers, shrubs and

trees flourish in natural forest, wetlands and old-growth plant

communities connected by trails and boardwalks. Several unique

demonstration gardens display collections of Native Azaleas,

Plants of the Cherokee, Mosses and Liverworts, Wildflowers,

Butterfly-pollinated and Rock Outcrop species. Horticulturists

offer free, guided tours everyMonday fromMay 23 to September

5 at 10:30 am. Several workshops on gardening are also offered.

The Botanical Garden, part of the Highlands Biological Station, is

free and open to the public year-round from sunrise to sunset.