Whiteside Mountain National Recreation Trail is a 1.9 mile heavily trafficked loop 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. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
1.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
511 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

kid friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

Nice loop trail with great view.

hiking
13 hours ago

Great trail and amazing overlooks.

3 days ago

Love this trail.

hiking
9 days ago

Agree that going clockwise is the way to go. A bit muddy in spots, but totally manageable. Linger at the top spots. We were too early for fall colors this year, but bet they’re amazing from 4900’.

17 days ago

Beautiful hike easy if you take the left trail the right is more fun.

hiking
22 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

1 month ago

Awesome views! Trail was easy and beautiful.

1 month ago

Love it! We’ve been going for years and the views never get old

1 month ago

Beautiful views from a number of lookouts and cliffs, wildflowers all along the way in August/early September. Great for dogs on a leash, kids of all ages, only about an hour roundtrip unless you stop for lots of photos or a picnic (both of which are highly recommended).

hiking
2 months ago

This was a rather easy hike. especially if you go left first, it makes the trail easier. but this one was one of the most rewarding hikes i have ever been on! the most beautiful scenes at the top, and this was not too hard of a trail. a MUST!

2 months ago

I live up here and this is my favorite hike to take especially when fall hits.

hiking
2 months ago

Really great hike. Good trail for beginners as there are not many difficult parts to it, but one is still rewarded with breathtaking views. I suggest going around noon or in the afternoon as in the morning the views are a little limited.

2 months ago

I must see what an adventure

2 months ago

Great hike especially with younger hikers. Awesome views and a real sense of you made it to the top for the young ones.

hiking
2 months ago

Clockwise is the easier route.

hiking
2 months ago

The parking lot is big but fills quickly so arrive early. There is a short hike up switchbacks and stairs to get to the top quickly or a long gravel road to get there more easily but takes longer. I'm 60 and found the switchbacks to be easy and the best route. I went on an overcast day and found that visibility was 0 feet when I got to the many viewing areas along the SE face of the mountain. However, after lingering for 15 minutes the haze lifted and visibility stretched to the horizon after about 30 minutes. The main trail is well guarded by safety fences but the side trails are not so watch children. I'm posting the hazy pictures but also some unique photos of the mountain taken off-trail. There are many gated communities in the area but the shot of the mountain over the lake was taken on Whiteside Cove Road at 35* 04.035'N and 083* 07.194'W. The clear and sunny shots were taken at a place called "The Spa" along SR-64 between Cashiers and Sapphire. (It is a beautiful place that is not gated and the people were friendly.)

2 months ago

Nice family hike with our 15, 10 and 2 year old. A lot of hikers for A Friday morning. Easy hike up the gravel trail. Great views along the ridge line and nice hike down the other side. Once you reach the top, make sure you follow the trail to see the views along the ridge even if you come back down the gravel, easy trail.

3 months ago

Great short trail. We walked up via the gravel trail then back by way of the tougher trail. Gorgeous views! Definitely walk around Highlands and drive a short way (.5 miles) to see Dry Falls. Beautiful falls on the side of the road.

3 months ago

Great Short Distant hike! Beautiful views!! Read the informative signs. Very Cool!!

hiking
3 months ago

Great short hike with beautiful views!

3 months ago

So beautiful following the fairy dust trails! Views clear as day!

hiking
3 months ago

We got up there right as clouds/fog rolled in, so we couldn't see anything. Notthe first time hiking trail thankfully. Beautiful views if the weather is good. Relatively easy trail with great views so expect heavy traffic on weekends/holidays.

hiking
3 months ago

This trail is one that offers great vistas time and time again. There is an option to either hike the more technical trail to the right or take the gravel path to the left. We took the gravel path to the left on the way up and decided on the more rewarding technical trail on the way down. Don’t miss the technical trail because that is where the vistas are. It is crowded up there, but for good reason. I would definitely go back.

hiking
3 months ago

Great trail with great views/. Gravel road is A LOT easier than the trail. I would recommend taking the gravel road up to the top and come down the more difficult trail so you know what you are getting into before trying the more difficult trail...if you are unsure about which way to go.

hiking
3 months ago

The gravel trail was pretty easy for us and our dogs. Based on advice of other hikers, we took the dogs back down the way we came instead of down the steps.

nature trips
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

Great short trail! You can take the easy or challenging route up - we did the challenging of course hehe

hiking
3 months ago

Multiple great views as you follow the ridge line. Those with walking/knee issues can take the gravel path up and down, while others can use the slightly trickier path with boulders and some high step-up/downs.

4 months ago

very nice trail and the views are amazing!

4 months ago

Great hike! Great views! Unique experience with cabled fences on the bald spots on the mountain. Would definitely go again.

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