Play in Highlands NC
Exploring the true beauty and nature of Highlands requires only a short walk from anywhere in town and an adventurous spirit. Surrounded by National Parks and perched upon a 4,000-foot plateau, there’s a reason why Highlands represents the Height of Happiness. As some of the locals say, “There’s something healing about the mountains.” Hundreds of acres of land and miles of untouched waters lie waiting to be explored by the next outdoor enthusiast. As a town whose land is still the same as it was hundreds of years ago, its natural assets are incomparable to any other mountain town within distance. Whiteside Mountain, for example, is known to be one of the oldest in the world– and hiking it can open your eyes. “You reach the top and it’s a spiritual experience. It makes you feel small as you look out over the most beautiful and ancient mountains.” –Local Hiker
On an “ordinary” day’s hike in Highlands, you can see thundering waterfalls, walk through luscious rainforests and overlook falcons’ nests as they glide along the mountainsides. Despite its lofty elevation, the climate in Highlands is surprisingly temperate, making it the perfect home for a unique ecosystem of plants, animals and natural wonders – any time of the year. While some visitors prefer to take in the purity and stillness of a snow-covered trail, others find themselves drawn to the refreshing feeling of a summertime dip in the creek. With melting snow and seasonal rain showers, the area’s hills and cliffs are lined with brooks, streams and rivers that are abundant with trout. Fly-fisherman from all across the East Coast champion the area’s fishing opportunities, which offer a unique and challenging way to test one’s abilities. Beginners and experts alike are encouraged to join some of the local guides who are professionals not only in locating trout, but determining just the right way to present them a fly.
For families, children and those who just prefer a more casual stroll through the woods, many of the trails that are in and around Highlands are capable of being tackled by the most entry-level hikers. Stunning overlooks and thundering waterfalls are accessible all throughout the town with parking spaces available just a stone’s throw away. Below are some ways to find your piece of happiness in the height of Highlands.