Climb to an elevation of 4118 to find Highlands, NC the crown jewel of the Southern Appalachians. Highlands is the place to be to celebrate all the excitement and activity of the fall season. The smell of wood burning fires and the sounds laughter fill the streets as many make their trip to the area. As soon as you start your drive up to the plateau you see bursts of fall color that rival to be some on the best in the country.
Take a Hike on Whiteside Mountain and maybe you will be lucky enough to see “The Shadow of the Bear”. On clear sunny days for about three weeks each fall, the eagerly anticipated and somewhat mystical Shadow of the Bear emerges slowly from behind Whiteside Mountain , beginning at about 5:30pm as the sun begins to set, a small shadow grows and morphs into various shapes, eventually appearing as a giant bear shadow across the treetops of the valley. This phenomenon attracts visitors and local residents alike, many hoping to capture a good photograph. If sipping a glass of wine and watching the sunset is more your speed, take the walk up to sunset rock and take in the beauty of the sun setting on the autumn color as the sky turns a brilliant golden tone. Once you have spent some time during fall in Highlands you will understand why at 4118ft you find “Your Height of Happiness”.