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White Side Mountain
Cashiers Highlands NC

Hiking Trail Map & Guide

Sheer Granite Cliff Towering Over SC Piedmont

PDF Printable Version of Whiteside Mountain Hike

View Toward South Carolina Piedmont from Whiteside Mtn

Whiteside Mountain (4,930 ft) in North Carolina, between Cashiers and Highlands offers stunning views of the transition from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Piedmont of South Carolina.  One of the most prominent features in the Highlands area, this 1000 ft vertical cliff along the south side of the mountain is a favorite amongst southeast rock climbers.  Rest assure though there is no vertical climbing required to do the 2 mile loop hiking trail from the north.

Southface, Whiteside Mountain NC

The trail head is located between Highlands and Cashiers NC.  From US 64/ NC 107 highway intersection in Cashiers NC, head west on US 64.  After approximately 6 miles the road climbs and tops out at a stunning view toward the east (left).  The road then turns sharply to the right at the Jackson/Macon county line.  Just after the county line take the immediate left onto Whiteside Mountain Road.  From Highlands, take US 64 east approximately 8 miles and bear right onto Whiteside Mountain Road.  Follow road approximately 1 mile to the Whiteside Mountain Trail parking area (gravel) on the left (marked).  Parking costs $2 per car as of Spring 2008 and is on the honor self pay system ( Approximate GPS Coordinates 3504'49.97"N  8308'38.46"W ).

Parking Lot, Whiteside Mountain NC
Information Kiosk, Whiteside Mtn NC

The US Forest Service does a good job maintaining this trail with a series of platforms, stairs, and railings. We prefer to do the hike in the counterclockwise direction, with your climbing done within the first half mile.  This portion can be steep with some stair climbing but it gets you to the summit fairly quick

Whiteside Mtn Trail, Highlands NC
Hiking  Trail on steep side - Sturdy Boardwalk that grips even in Winter

Be careful with children along the trail.  It is narrow in several places and a misstep could lead to a fatal fall.  Many locations do not have any railings or other control, so keep a hand on the kids, the dog, your friends, etc.

Ledgetop on Whiteside Mtn Cashiers NC Trail
One Mistep Could Be Fatal

The first mile of the hike consist of the initial climb up the back north side of the mountain via the steps, stairs and boards walks.  Eventually the trail will turn and traverse along the top of the cliff with continuous views toward the south.  The trail peaks out at the summit and continues along the cliff top until a concrete platform.  At the platform there are excellent views back toward the cliff as well as toward the south.

Shortly the trail comes to an open area where views open up to the north.  At this point follow the old jeep trail in woods down back to the parking lot in approximately 1 mile.

Please note that the US Forest Service has been known to close this trail because of the rare Peregrine Falcons along the cliffs.  These birds were all but extinct in the 1960s but due to reintroduction in the 1980s they are coming back.

Other hikes near Whiteside Mtn: 



Stairs on Whiteside Mtn Cashiers NC Trail

Railing Along Clifftop on Whiteside Mtn Cashiers NC Trail

Whiteside Mtn Summit Elevation Carved in Rock, Cashiers NC Trail
Whiteside Summit Eleveation 4930 ft Carved in Rock

Whiteside Mtn Trail, Cashiers NC Trail
Whiteside Trail

Whiteside Mtn NC with limited view
 Even in Foggy Weather, the View can still be great. 

Whiteside Mtn NC Observation Pad
 Concrete Observation Pad on Whiteside Mtn in Foggy Weather 

Railing 0n Whiteside Mtn Cashiers NC Trail 
Railing along Summit Ridge 


Whiteside Mountain Trail Map near Cashiers and Highlands NC
  Map of Whiteside Mountain Trail 


Whiteside Mtn from Chimney Top Mtn near Cashiers NC
Whiteside Mtn from Chimney Top Mtn near Cashiers NC
Devil's Courthouse small rock peak on Right Side of Mtn.

Miles (appx) 2 (round trip)
Road Maps     North Carolina Highway Map
    Western North Carolina Map
Other Area Guides     Trekking the Southern Appalachians
    North Carolina Hiking Trails    
    Highlands Cashiers Outdoor Companion
    North Carolina Atlas & Gazetteer

rev 05/2008