Whiteside Mountain National Recreation Trail

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Nantahala National Forest

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 bird watching and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length1.9 miElevation gain511 ftRoute typeLoop
Dogs on leashkid friendlyHikingNature tripsWalkingBird watchingForestViewsWildflowersWildlifeFee
Description
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Getting There

A landmark along the Eastern Continental Divide, Whiteside Mountain rises to an elevation of 4,930 feet. The mountain's cliffs look like sheets of ice draped across the mountain. This magnificent rock is about 390 to 460 million years old. Attractions: A two-mile loop trail climbs above the sheer 750-foot high cliffs and offers outstanding views to the east, south, and west. Whiteside Mountain Trail is rated more difficult because of its steepness. This is a self service fee location. $3 per vehicle and an additional $1 per person. It is a beautiful hike with amazing views and worth the visit!

North Carolina Div. Of Travel and Tourism, 301 N. Wilmington Street , Raleigh, NC, 27601, Phone: 919-733-4171

Directions from Highlands, NC: Located between Highlands and Cashiers off US 64.

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Reviews (1,132)
Photos (729)
Recordings (913)
Completed (2,231)
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James Jones
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HikingGreat!
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Larisa Cushman
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HikingFeeMuddy

Saturday : 2/27/21 ~ The trail is awesome. It definitely had quite a bit of mud and rocks can be slippery when they’re wet. I’m glad to see this is considered a moderate hike. I’m very short , and sometimes it’s hard to keep up with my long legged family. The trail was well marked, the views were fabulous and hikers are friendly and considerate when passing on the trail. I highly recommend, if you’re going on a Saturday, to get there early. We did. When we were leaving around 11:30(?) the parking lot was packed !

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Emily McMichen
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HikingFeeGreat!MuddyRocky

Breathtaking views. Use the gravel road to reach the top of the mountain and the loop trail will lead you back down. There’s a $3 parking fee, and the lot is monitored. Read the signs. Slippery and dangerous when raining so be careful.

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Kelsey Mase
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HikingGreat!MuddyRocky

Amazing, breathtaking views. Hiked just before sunset and it wasn’t crowded at all. Some muddy areas and lots of rocks.

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SaraSam Dawson
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HikingMuddy

Waterfalls make run off on the trail very muddy. Difficult marker part of a The loop to the peak, we were told is a more muddy route to hike.

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Johns Mom
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Hiking

a bit slippery, tight passes in some places, great views.

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Chris S
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HikingGreat!

I went this past weekend the weather was hazy, so I wasn’t able to see much visibility over the ledge which was kind of awesome it felt like I was on a cloud. I will definitely return to see the views from over the ledge. Wonderful hour and a half hike if you take your time and stop at the points to read up on the history

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Juan Lujan
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Brooke Joiner
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Hiking

Really enjoyed this one. Easy trail with spectacular views along to the way. A little icy on the way up. I’ll definitely do this trail again.

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Rebecca Youngblood
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Hiking

Popular trail - I took the hard route - to go the easy way, head up the gravel road. The hard way is much more interesting though!

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Amanda Robbins
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Hiking

Beautiful views. Well worn trails. Icy in spots.

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Jeb Barton
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Icy

Can't beat the payoff for the effort. Short, rather simple hike but with phenomenal views. A bit icy in spots. Definitely worth doing if in or near Highlands

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Ashleigh Harris
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Brent Ammons
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Hiking

Awesome and icy trail! Great views!

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Cole Oraham
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Hiking

I love this hike. I’ve done it a couple times. Last time I went it was very packed with people, but normally you have good separation and distance from people. Go left on the trail where it splits for an easier ascent.

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Peter Upton
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Hiking

Great! Either go UP the icy left portion of the trail or avoid it entirely by ascending and descending the switch-backy trail to the right hand of the loop. Lovely views along the way, make sure to read about the rescue at Fools Rock

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Anthony C
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HikingGreat!Icy

Icy, yes. Incredible views, yes. Went up the right and looped around coming back down the wider flatter trail. Worked well since I’d rather climb up icy steps than climb down.

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Matt Schaffer
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HikingIcy
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TT Ayers
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Hiking

Good short trail but couldn'tdo the loop. It was too icy and treacherous. Went after 3pm, there were a few people there and some with small children. It was very slippery so walk on the fresh snow instead. Thank goodness I had my stick with me.. Beautiful icicles and snow sloped hills.. with a nice platform to view at the top. Giving it a 4-star bc I wasn't able to do the whole loop due to the ice.

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Will Thomas
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Hiking

Great views. Going left is easier than right when there is snow and ice.

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Penny Burnett
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Hiking

Great hike with amazing views. I brought 6 teenage girls and the length was perfect. They enjoyed navigating the snow and ice.

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Haylee Bishop
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Hiking

Great trail! Took my best friend and dog with me, it was kind of slippery from snow and ice so be careful for the time being.

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K.C. Rhodes
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Hiking

Did not expect for it to be snowing but that is what we hiked through. The ground was extremely icey and kind of dangerous. It was nice at certain points though.

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