Sheer Granite Cliff Towering Over SC
PDF Printable Version of Whiteside Mountain Hike
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.
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 35º04'49.97"N 83º08'38.46"W ).
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
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.
Trail on steep side - Sturdy Boardwalk that grips even in
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
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.
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: