Whitewater Falls Trail
0.6 miles (round trip). Trail head: Whitewater Falls parking lot. Features: Whitewater Falls is the highest in the Eastern US (441’) and is an easy walk on a paved trail. Directions: Take Highway 64 East to Cashiers, turn right onto Highway 107 South for 9.3 miles. At the Whitewater Falls sign, turn left to SC 130. Continue 2.3 miles to stop sign and turn left onto Whitewater Road (SR 1171). Drive 1.1 miles to Whitewater Falls sign and turn right, the trail descends very steeply to the river. There is another overlook about 100’ down the trail. To the left, the trail continues to the river and fords the river. There are numerous places for picnicking as well as shallow pools for wading and quick dips.
4 miles (round trip). Trail head: Whiteside Cove Road. Features: Chattooga River forced into a narrow channel, cascading river and swimming hole. Directions: Turn left onto Whiteside Cove Road and drive 0.9 miles. The trail is on a logging road on the right and descends 2 miles to The Narrows. You will pass a trail to the right, which continues to Bull Pen Bridge on Horse Cove Road. Be sure to return the way you came.
The Chattooga Loop Trail
Almost a 2-mile loop trail that begins to the left of the Iron Bridge. From Highlands proceed east on Main Street for 4.5 miles. Main Street will become Horse Cove Road. Look for the intersection with Bull Pen and Whiteside Cove Roads. Turn right onto Bull Pen Road (#1178 #1180) . Proceed for 5.4 miles to the Iron Bridge. The trail head is on the left just before bridge.
Take Main Street .5 miles east until the Nature Center is on the left and park on the gravel on the right side of the road. Sunset Rock is an ideal choice for a late afternoon stroll. It is a short 1/2 mile walk to the top. Beautiful sunsets can be seen over the town, while you sit on a natural amphitheatre on slabs of granite.
Slick Rock Trail
0.2 miles (round trip) Trail Head: Bull Pen Rd. take Horse Cove Rd. to end of pavement. Take right fork (Bull Pen Rd.) and continue 1 mile. On a sharp left curve look for a pull- off and a steep unmarked path on the right. The hike is short, but the summit offers an impressive view of the mountains.
Little Sliding Rock
Take Horse Cove Road to the end of pavement. Take the left (Whiteside Cove Road) for approx. 5 miles, then start looking for parking off the road. Stop along the way to see “World’s Smallest Post Office”.
Highlands Botanical Gardens
A lovely spot with several different gardens to explore .5 miles from downtown on Main Street. Park on gravel area across from Highlands Nature Center. The garden paths start to the left of the Nature Center with maps posted along trails. The gardens are free and open to the public year- round from sunrise to sunset.
Ellicott's Rock / Bad Creek Trails
7 miles each (round trip). Trail head: Bull Pen Road. Features: Ellicott’s Rock is a rock embedded in the Chattooga River bank bearing the letters NC, carved by surveyor Andrew Ellicott. He thought this to be the intersection of GA, NC & SC. The actual point of the intersection is Commisioners Rock, bearing the symbol NC/SC 1813, 10 feet downstream. Directions: Take the right fork, Bull Pen Road. Ellicott’s Rock trail starts at 6 miles, the Bad Creek trail starts at 10 miles. Both drop steeply down from opposite sides of the river near Ellicott’s Rock (left bank looking down stream) and continue down river.
3.2 miles (round trip) Trail Head: Glen Falls parking area, the trail begins to the right. A moderate walk, the trail crosses a stream many times. Then a mile-long series of switchbacks leads to the top. Length: 1.5 miles • Difficulty: Moderate
To reach the trailhead, take 64 East from Highlands three miles and turn left onto Buck Creek Road. Follow Buck Creek Road 2.3 miles. The trail will be on the right. Destination of this hike is a spectacular panoramic vista seen from the top of Yellow Mountain. Length: 4.8 miles one way, allow for a full day. Difficulty: Strenuous
Complimentary Nature Trails of Highlands Aerial Park
Forest consisting of Streams, Waterfalls, Suspension Bridges, Wildflowers, Shrubs, Old Growth Trees, Ferns, Lichens, Mosses, and Boulders May be explored on Easy to Moderate Nature trails segmented into lengths as short as 1/4 mile, 1/2 mile, and other sections up to a total of over 5 miles on the 95 acres of Park Property and the adjacent Nantahala National Forest. These trails are complimentary with check-in at the HAP Visitor Center. Located 9.3 miles from Highlands Main Street on the Dillard Rd.