We parked a car at the Iron Bridge on Bull Pen Road. We drove further on Bull Pen Road which was asphalt then gravel, past Ammons Campground to the intersection of Horse Cove Road (left/west to Highlands) and Whiteside Cove Road (right/east to Cashiers). Turned right on to Whiteside Cove Road. We drove past Granite City and Summer Chapel. We parked at the 5 car parking area for Chattooga River Trail in the Nantahala Ranger District. The trail started on the right/west side of the parking lot. There is a brown karsanite sign here. The trail was up, level, up, etc to the top of the hill. Initially there were several large trees that were chain sawed. A few years ago there was a large tree over the trail that we walked up and around. This was no longer there. There were many other trees over the trail before and after the large waterfall at the bridge over Norton Mill Creek. Good place for the Forest Service to give a class on proper use of a chain saw. From the north end of this bridge, walk down the rocks, toward Chattooga River. Peer around the corner to see the Narrows. We had lunch and soaked our feet here.
A nicer hike to the Narrows is drive 6.8 miles, from Hwy 107, down Whiteside Cove Road, at Macon/Jackson county line.. Park on left. Walk in one mile. Turn left at Chattooga River Trail. Cross bridge at Norton Mill Creek.
We continued on. We saw Lobelia, Indian Cucumber, Jewel Weed and other flowers. There were also more trees across the trail, including a reroute at a ravine switchback.
Before the sign for the Loop, there was a wet rock climb to a wet rock ledge. The hand line is no longer here. We walked along the wet ledge 10’ or so. Then climbed up the wet rock to the dirt trail. Many people who start from the Iron Bridge stop here and turn around and return to their car.
I do not recommend the Loop Trail. It goes uphill, away from the river and ends at a free no amenities campsite. To return to your car, turn left at road. From here it is a road walk to your car.
I always enjoy the rock shelf overhang. We watched our footing on the wet rock stairs.
We saw no one on the trail. It was the Thursday Hurricane Florence was predicted to make landfall on the Carolina coast. Beautiful day here.