Shortoff Mountain Trail

MODERATE 8 reviews
#32 of 59 trails in

Shortoff Mountain Trail is a 3.8 mile moderately 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, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round.

3.8 miles 1043 feet Out & Back

kid friendly



nature trips




wild flowers


2 months ago

5 months ago

Definitely a challenging hike... Upppp the entire way! Pack a little lunch and enjoy the view once you make it to the top. Plenty of secluded areas to sit and soak in the view!

7 months ago

Good walk.

9 months ago

Nice well worn for trail and marked appropriately however if you're looking for vistas or waterfall, Pay the two dollars for the Whiteside Mountain Trail or go to Glenfalls for waterfalls

10 months ago

Our energy level was low so we did the section from Buck Creek Rd to Cole Mtn. No views from Cole Mtn. So make sure you are up to going 1.9 miles in to reach Shortoff.

1 year ago

Not to be confused with Shortoff Mountain near Linville and Lake James, this Shortoff Mountain is near Highlands, NC starting off Buck Creek Road. There are two trails, the most travelled one starts at the same trailhead as the Yellow Mountain Trail at Cole Gap (see Yellow Mountain Trail). We took the other trail from the back of the Shortoff Road subdivision starting beside white picket fence horse corral at Cold Springs Saddle and Tennis Club. The trail is not maintained and starts off the road, so the trailhead is hard to find. The trail ascends gradually and goes through mountain laurel, rhododendron, huge ferns, and by some old moonshine still sites before reaching the cliffs and crest that joins with the other trail from Buck Creek Road. You can watch hawks soaring above from the top, which is mostly wooded, and the view is to the south. The trip is about 3-4 miles round trip and there are better views from the top of Yellow Mountain, but this is a good hill climb with a pretty good view.

1 year ago

1 year ago

Great trail with beautiful views of lake James along the way and then at the top some incredible views of Linville Gorge. It is tricky due to some loose rocks in some parts.