Bartram Trail: Jones Gap to Whiterock Mountain

MODERATE 35 reviews
#14 of 89 trails in

Bartram Trail: Jones Gap to Whiterock Mountain is a 5.8 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Highlands, North Carolina that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, camping, and birding and is best used from March until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

5.8 miles
1,167 feet
Out & Back

dog friendly







wild flowers





10 days ago

Started at upper parking area not as shown.

16 days ago

What a great day hike. I agree with the other posts about the directions. The trail head is not hard to find, but I was glad that we followed the directions posted by others on this site.

We took the Jones Gap side trail and we were glad that we did. The views are spectacular. There is significant diversity of trees and flowers on the trail and the hike is not too strenuous that our entire family - 18, 15, & 9 year olds included- did it have fun. At White Rock Gap, we dropped down to Stephens Creek and were really impressed by the trees along the way.

Overall, this is a great day hike and we will be back.

3 months ago

Awesome views from Whiterock! Super easy hike!

5 months ago

Has been a favorite hike for 35+ years.
Just before the switchback to ascend the back side of Whiterock, there are some Awesome geological formations ~ 50 yards off the southwest side of the trail that must be explored.
But word of warning.... I have only ventured there during colder months, as it is rattlesnake and copperhead heaven.

5 months ago

Great day hike! As mentioned by a few others it is best to not follow the directions from All Trails. I'll repost the better directions here :

Begin by referring to the above directions to get to the trailhead. Although some of it is paved, a good majority of it is not so you'll likely drive ~2 miles on dirt road up I believe Scaly Mtn to the trailhead. Trailhead will be obvious after a long uphill drive. From there we went right on the yellow blazed trail. About a half mile in there is a spur trail on the left with blue blazes to take you up Jones Knob and Whiterock Mtn (maybe a mile at most to do this trail). AMAZING VIEWS!!! these will be the best views during the hike so i highly recommend taking this spur. then you can back track and get back on Bartam trail. This trail can take you a ways so you can do a lot more/go a lot longer than what is listed on this page. This is mostly a backcountry type trail with a lot of vegetation. it is really pretty and not overly difficult. You will see an option to go up Whiterock from this trail down near the Whiterock Gap

There is an option during the hike to take a spur trail to the summit of FishHawk Mtn. Hiker be warned that the sign that says its 528ft refers to the elevation gain!!! This is a heartbreaker! Def use your trekking poles if you have them-very steep! Not really a view from the top but there is a summit marker and a plague in the rock. Def the hardest part of the hike! but not mandatory!

I recommend after the hike to go checkout the Satulah Mtn Brewery! it is a 15 min drive. No food but there is a neat little pub called Ugly Dog just down the street with plenty of food options-and more beer! This is all downtown Highlands which is a cute little town worth stopping by

Sunday, July 30, 2017

This is a fabulous hike! To get to trailhead, follow directions under Austin Thompson's review below. Only change is that the left off of Gold Mine Road is now paved for quite a distance. Views from Jones Knob and Whiterock are spectacular. I went further to Fishhawk Mtn. If you do this, don't believe the sign that says the side trail is just 528 feet. It's much longer and incredibly steep. Then I couldn't find the overlook at the top! I'm sure it's there somewhere but I had to settle for seeing a nice plaque at the summit honoring W. Bartram. Regardless, a great hike--highly recommend.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

This may be the best summer dayhike in the area. The wildflowers, the rock formations, the overlooks, and the seclusion are all spectacular.

First, finding the trailhead. There are essentially three ways to get there: from the north, from the south, or from the west. I'm not sure about everyone else's GPS, but linking to Apple Maps from the AllTrails app gives me the options. I would only recommend entering from the south or the west if you have 4 wheel drive, or if you are experienced on steep/narrow gravel roads and have a high clearance 2 wheel drive vehicle. There will be some travel on narrow gravel roads no matter from which way you approach, so if that makes you nervous I would recommend an alternate trail head. If you are like me and love hiking national forests partly because of these rugged access roads enter from the south or west, it's a blast.

The longest off pavement distance is from the south, turning on to Turtle Pond from Highway 106. The gravel road weaves several miles through a relatively flat valley, with wildflowers covering the roadside and laurel bordering the creek. The road passes pastoral farms and rustic mountain homes along the way. Though narrow at times, the road is well serviced because of the homes and a pleasant, though slower, drive. Turtle Pond Road intersects with Dendy Orchard Rd in a Y, leading to a left turn on to Dendy Orchard. Entering from the west also turns on to Turtle Pond Rd, but from the opposite end on Highway 64. The road here is paved and after a couple of miles turn right at the Y on to Dendy Orchard Rd. The west and south routes converge here and follow a paved portion of Dendy Orchard along the valley. The pavement ends and the road becomes narrow and steep, passing closely by the first house. This is the most intense portion of the drive with blind switchbacks and loose gravel. After a mile or so you reach the trail head access road on the left. Still, this is my favorite way to get there.

If you choose to travel the smoothest course enter from the north, turning on to Gold Mine road and then taking a Left on Dendy Orchard. Traveling east on 64 turn right, and traveling west pass the Turtle Pond turn (your GPS may recommend this) and look for Gold Mine Rd on your left.

For the hike I started right (west) out of the parking lot on the Bartram Trail, hit the spur trail for Jones Knob Overlook, then backtracked to the Bartram continuing towards Whiterock Mountain. There are a couple of water sources and campsites near Whiterock Gap. I finished by taking the Whiterock Mountain spur Trail to its termination on the rock face. From there it's just backtracking to the car.

I love this hike because you get the scenery of a hike in a National Park or on the Blue Ridge Parkway but without the crowds. I arrived at the trailhead at 11am on a summer Saturday and saw no one all day. Within a mile of the trailhead you reach a meadow filled with wildflowers, I counted nine different species. The trail isn't well trafficked so long pants may be a good idea. After the meadow everything is well blazed and signed, even if the trail is tight. Where there are flowers there are bugs, so bring spray. Where there are bugs there are also plenty of songbirds. It's bear country so make noise and keep your eyes open.

The Jones Knob spur Trail is the steepest portion of the hike, reaching almost 5,000 ft elevation, and it's nice to hit it early in the hike. The trail is bordered with wildflowers and there are a couple of rock faces with great views. Back on the Bartram Trail the hike is a nice combination of ups and downs, at times rooty or muddy, with interesting rock formations.

The trail is named for William Bartram, an ornithologist and botanist who visited this area in the late 1700s. He's credited with logging several species of plant in this area for the first time, and with the flowers and birds it's obvious why he was so fond of this part of the country. There are plaques along the trail describing quite a few of these plants, both common and unique. After passing Whiterock Gap the trail climbs steadily and at times steeply, often over slick rock grades. Once you crest the mountain descend on the other side to the slick rock face and one of the most spectacular views in the region.

I really think this may be the perfect day hike. 5 miles and 1000 ft elevation gain makes you feel you accomplished something without being dead by the end. The scenery is phenomenal, and not just at the destination. Even the ride to and from the trailhead is entertaining. Plan to spend some time exploring, but be prepared for changing weather in the summer. I had to double time it back to the car getting chased by a thunderstorm.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Fairly easy trail with a spectacular view at white rock.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Take Gold Mine Road to reach the FR to the trailhead. Passenger cars can easily navigate this route. Mostly level along the Ridge with a few areas of elevation gain. View from both Jones Knob (Spur near the parking lot) and Whiterock are spectacular. Vegetation is dense and wet but generally cool. Watch for snakes in the ledges around Whiterock's summit.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

you may need 4wd to get to the trailhead from the south. you can take goldmine road from the north. there is a sign for the spur up to jones gap. either way this is an easy and awesome hike and worth the effort. the spur trail to the top of the pluton is almost all solid rock. the view from the whiterock cliffs is amazing. my GPS said it was 4.5 miles round trip.

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Do not follow AllTrails directions for parking-it is a one lane secluded road that takes you to the trailhead but didn't see a place to park other than possibly somebody's house. We drove back down and parked at main parking at the Osage overlook. We hiked up to scaly mountain (2miles) then went another 2 miles for a total of 8 round trip. Definitely recommend hiking shoes as there is a creekbed to walk through and my tennis shoes got soaked (hubbies hiking boots did great) This is moderate hike with a few tricky places. Nice view from scaly mountain summit but didn't see much after that (I think we almost made it to a campsite but turned around prior). Only saw two other people hiking so very secluded. It took us 4 hours to hike 8 miles even though we are in good shape.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

First solo hike for me. It wasn't too long or hard to follow. There is a first overlook that's incredible and then the one at the top has several that you can sit and enjoy for a good period of time.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Nice secluded trail with great views. Do not follow the directions given by the app though. this website has the correct directions.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

The trail head labeled Bartram Trail, found out we were on Scaly Mountain Trail. But the Hike was great. Great views on top and the trail is the right amount of difficulty for it to still be fun. I would hike this trail again.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

My son and I enjoyed this trail, weather was great (just shy of a record high for January). The terrain is family friendly for the most part. Got some nice photos of the falls at about a third of the way in. Will be back!

Monday, September 20, 2010

This trail is amazing. I set out to find a trail in the mountains, that had majestic views and wasn't going to kick my butt too bad. THIS IS IT. my girlfriend and I took a 2 day camping trip to the Bartram Trail. Starting at Jones Gap (3500 ft elev) we hiked up Jones Knob (4622ft) Whiterock Mt (4480ft) abd Little Fishhawk (4642ft) where we finally camped on a bluff and it was some of the coolest, and yet also easiest hiking/camping to date. There were so many outlooks into the mountains and if one were to just go from the trail head to the third gap, it takes less than an hour, but i highly recommend hiking to the summits. This adds over 2 miles of extra hiking but it is so worth every step.

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Monday, May 29, 2017

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