Explore the most popular hiking trails near Highlands with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

I took a right at the junction at the beginning of the loop which was more of a challenge then just taking the gravel road to the top, lots of steps. Either way it was beautiful. Very wet and muddy in spots. I love all the trees and green all around. The top was awesome with amazing panoramic views. I was fortunate enough to watch the sunrise and see clouds hovering around the trees down below. I had it all to myself.It was pretty epic

It had been raining a few days so naturally the trail was wet and muddy. Very green, lots of trees and vegitaion, it was a beautiful hike. The falls are pretty sweet.

My husband and I drove to this trail today. We paid the $5 fee at the entrance, drove another 20 yards and then encountered a sign that said ALL TRAILS CLOSED. Would have be nice if the put the sign before the spot where you pay to enter.

I would say this was a moderate to hard hike in rain. Elevation wasn't a huge deal, pretty average considering you're going down to a waterfall and back up to the trailhead. The rain though had washed out some chunks of the trail. Also, it wasn't cleared out very well in some spots. Had to weave through some downed trees. Well worth the trek though. I came in via Walkingstick Rd. I don't have fourwheel drive and was slipping on the loose gravel. Definitely need an SUV or truck if you come that way. Supposedly you can also come down from 28 and it's a lot better road.

lived this hike and falls!

beautiful trail - took 2.5 year old daughter and 4 month old son and was easy enough to carry both and enjoy the views

Wow. Great run/hike. Enjoyed this one lots! What a view on a clear day

Awesome views from Whiterock! Super easy hike!

22 days ago

This trail was very cool- you start off on the top of a waterfall and zig zag your way down. You run into the waterfall about 3-4 times at different spots on the way down and get to play in a pool at the bottom of the falls. This was a perfect hike to bring a water dog on!

28 days ago

Very well marked trail. Some trees are down after Irma.
Pretty sleep elevation gain, so it was a great work out. We did it on a foggy rainy Sunday and didn’t meet any single person.
Flowers along the way and mossy trees.

Beautiful hike and amazing views at the top.

1 month ago

short and sweat little walk. great for anyone.

Gorgeous view but hard to find the trail.

Great views fun hike

Views at top are nice. Trail is not pleasant to walk. Not much of a hike. But, a walk up the road.

The road is very boring for kids. Only took about .3 of a mile for them to get bored.

The views are great from the top. The east view is beautiful and the west is a bit more developed within the view. Sunset is amazing. I will make the track again for a sunrise.

Head up early if you want to catch sunset. A lot of people go up for that.

Worth the views and especially for sunset!


Great hike with a great view!

The road to get there was very narrow and all gravel. Extremely difficult to have a car going each way. We ended up turning around because we couldn’t find where the trail began and the road getting there had us uneasy.

1 month ago

Great trail, falls are beautiful with 3 or 4 different viewpoints. Keep going down, it’s worth the work to climb back up.

A fantastic hike. We took it really slow and enjoyed the views, stopped for some hot tea at the summit and had a wonderful time on the trail. It is an easy to moderate hike if you start the loop by going left when you reach the top of the stairs. A moderate hike if you go right. Watch out for ice if you go in cold weather. I slipped on a patch and took a little spill, but was no worse for the wear. The views are great. We saw a Peregrine falcon in flight and lots of beautiful ice on rocks. If you don't hike much and are on the fence about doing this one, you can hike in by taking the loop to the left, summit, and backtrack the way you came in...giving you a gentle slope all the way up and all the way down.

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.

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 : http://southernhighroads.org/north-carolina/attractions/highlands/hiking...bartram-trail-jones-gap-to-whiterock-mountain

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

2 months ago

Cute little walk with the kids and dogs. Beautiful view! You used to be able to drive to the trail head but last time we were there you had to walk the road to get there.

2 months ago

This is the perfect little path for older visitors and very little ones who can’t do a hike and but want to see one of our waterfalls up close and walk behind it. We come a few times a year to check it out and show our visiting friends and family.

2 months ago

We found it by accident but definitely loved it.

Definitely a tough challenge! Worth the experience especially at the top!

My grandmother was Essie McCall and born in 1898 near Walking Stick Road above Big Creek.
Why it is called Secret Falls is beyond me.I have hiked the Three Forks Trail and the Big Creek Trail.
There are 18 waterfalls in the area. I discovered some of these waterfalls by talking to the Owens and McCall's.

Great hike. We did this with our 8 and 13 year old. They both enjoyed it!

Was looking for a “hard” trail thinking it’d be fun and a breeze. This one was definitely tough for sure. The first half is the river part where you walk beside or across the river itself. Was pretty hard cause it was extremely slippery and the river was high and some had no places to cross so you just had to walk through. The second half is the straight up hill half straight to the top. Lots of downed trees but overall moderately to decently hard. My 3 month puppy had minimal issues keeping up. Ps. Lookout #5 is where it’s at, in my opinion the others are just a waste of a walk.

this is a cool trail. great views at the top along the rock face. some 700ft drop? people were repelling off of. very crowded though. camping isnt allowed. lots of steps. a hammock might be nice at the top though.. huge birds flying at the top

3 months ago

This waterfall is located near where I grew up and it is called The Big Shoals. Please don't go trying to change the name of our waterfalls!!

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