Yellow Mountain Trail

HARD 54 reviews
#5 of 66 trails in

Yellow Mountain Trail is a 10.6 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Highlands, North Carolina that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
10.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2946 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

Yellow Mountain at 5,127 feet is one of the highest mountains in the Highlands Ranger District. On the top is a fire tower built by the Forest Service and the Civilian Conservation Corps originally in 1934, and reconstructed in the early 1990's through the joint effort of the Forest Service, local business and civic groups and volunteers. In 1992, the tower was recognized as a National Historic Lookout. Not only is the tower unique but the 360 degree view from the tower is one of the most spectacular in the District. The trail from Cole Gap to the top of Yellow Mountain starts at an elevation of 4,300 feet and goes along a Cole Mountain ridge at 4,600 feet. There is a short descent before climbing Shortoff to 5,000 feet via a set of switchbacks. At 4,640 feet, from Goat Knob the trail descends to Yellow Mountain Gap at 4,120 feet and makes the final climb up to Yellow Mountain at 5,120 feet. Shorter hikes can be made by terminating the hike at the view over the western cliffs of Cole Mountain or by continuing to the top of Shortoff. Also you can start from the Cashiers side of the trail with a RT of around 3 miles.

hiking
3 days ago

hiking
8 days ago

trail running
8 days ago

An awesome spot for a trail run. I did it in the rain yesterday, Some technical parts and some climbing, but a really fun trail!

My gps said it was 6.08 miles to the fire tower, then I came back the same way. I didn't see a loop.
So 12.1 miles round trip.

hiking
12 days ago

hiking
13 days ago

Have done this trail in the past. Amazing view at the top, but the trail signage is definitely deceptive on the distance now that the trails have been redone.

Looking to hike this again, but one of the shorter options due to a limited schedule. Does anyone have specifics to get to some of the starts on the shorter options? Can't seem to find a trail map for those options

29 days ago

There was a ton of debris from Irma which made a tough hike even tougher. You need to prepare for 12 + miles of tough up and downs there and back. Tremendous views at the top.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

Yes, this is a great workout. Beautiful scenery. Make sure you are physically fit enough to hike this trail. The comments below from other hikers are correct. This trail is almost 13 miles. We did not realize that, of course, when we started, therefore, we were hiking out the last couple of miles after dark....not good. Please make sure to allow enough daylight hours, accounting for some rest time because of the strenuous nature of the trail. I would definitely do it again though. Great photos from our hikes. :)

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

4 months ago

Much longer and more difficult than I anticipated. Don't start this trail at mid day.

hiking
6 months ago

The trail, one way, is 6.4 miles according to my GPS. I stayed on the Yellow Mountain trail the entire time even though there are a few other trails that branch off or intersect it. The trail has spots of tree roots and rocks but for the most part, is well maintained except for some trees covering the trail. The view at the top is great for a North Carolina hike. It is a trail that is equally difficult coming back as it was going up because you are strained from the trek to the top and you must still ascend the same mountains that you climbed going to Yellow Mountain. This can be verified by my Fitbit and I burned almost the same amount of calories coming back. Overall, if you want to be alone and you want a good workout, go on a weekday and you may not see anyone else the entire time.

hiking
6 months ago

It was a good hike, I went when it was foggy in hopes to see the fog and mist over the mountains, but I saw nothing because the fog was so dense at the top that I saw nothing. But it technically was a 5 star hike, just I had a poor-ish experience.

6 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

Great although misleading long. the trailhead and most places indicate that it is only 10.4 however the northernmost part of the loop is closed (or overgrown at the very least). So its closer to 13 miles from what I can tell. Fitbit says 16, but it wasnt that long for sure. There is a lot of elevation changes and long uphills/downhills. The top is well worth the hike and definitely worth exploring up there for a while.