Length: 0.5 miles one way to first cascade 0.9 miles to base of falls at primitive camping area
Difficulty: Strenuous A narrow path follows the plunging
East Fork of Overflow Creek past 3 50’ drops and countless smaller cascades. The major falls are impressive at high water but disappointing during dry times. Numerous scenic overlooks punctuate the pathway as it descends into peaceful Blue Valley. The actual elevation change is about 700 feet, making for a steep rugged return to the parking area. The first major cascade can be reached in about 10 minutes. Follow 106 South from Highlands about two miles turning left at the Glen Falls scenic area sign. Follow the gravel road for one mile to the parking area.
Length: 1.5 miles one way
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
This mountain offers a bit of a different experience. The mountain’s summit is located less than one half mile from busy Hwy 106, yet seems to remain one of the least traveled pathways in the area. Additionally, it doesn’t offer any spectacular views-yet is ease of access and relatively moderate terrain makes it a good choice for a family hike. Follow the directions to Glen Falls. From the Glen Falls parking lot follow the trail-head to Chinquapin.From Highlands travel 5 miles east on Hwy 64. Turn right on Whiteside Mt. Rd. Parking lot is several miles on left hand side of road.
Length: 3 miles round trip from lower parking area 1 mile from upper parking area
Overall Elevation Gain:1,000 from Bee Gum Gap
Majestic and massive, Georgia’s Rabun Bald rises just south of the North Carolina line near Scaly. At 4,696’ it is Georgia’s second highest peak, and gazes directly downward into the Sky Valley resort development. Like many other summits, Rabun Bald often offers an experience of near solitude for visitors. The combination of a complete lack of facilities and difficulty in locating access routes sometimes combine to make Rabun Bald one or the Highlands area best sleepers. There are two good options in gaining Rabun Bald’s summit. One is to begin your hike at Bee Gum Gap, following a spur trail that travelers and old roadbed. The path soon merges with the famous Bartram Trail and attains the summit 1.5 miles above Bee Gum Gap. The upper parking area, Kelsey Trail snakes through a series of moderately steep switchbacks, climbing quickly through an area of dense rhododendron. As it gains the summits ridgeline, the trail flattens somewhat, soon emerging into the open bald. The summit is dominated by a newly renovated observation platform that lifts visitors above the tree line providing spectacular views in all directions. Take Highway 106 from Highlands to Scaly Mountain. Turn left on Hale Ridge Road and follow the blacktop road approximately three and half miles to you see Kelsey Trail on the left hand side of the road.
Length: 1.5 miles to summit
Overall elevation gain: Approximately 1500 feet
The Scaly Mountain summit offers a beautiful view of the Appalachians and South Carolina Piedmont to the South. The Bartram Trail leads from Highway 106 to the summit. From downtown Highlands, take Highway 106 south 5.7 miles to the Osage Mountain Vista. Park your car at the overlook. The trail starts at the up the mountain just across Highway 106 (Dillard Road). The trail length is 1-1/2 mile each way, and the climb is approximately 1050ft. The initial 0.6 miles of trail that starts up the mountain steeply, passing through an old burn and continuing up past a small waterfall. Approximately 0.4 miles into the hike, a short side path drops to a noisy waterfall- a great place to rest. The trail continues upward, soon crossing the small branch just above the falls, and remains somewhat steep until joining an old roadbed at mile 0.6. Make sure you bear to the right onto the roadbed and soon you will begin a slow, prolonged ascent along the side of this ancient peak. The trail continues along the roadbed for another 0.6 miles. Begin looking for a junction with a spur trail on the left at mile 1.2 the junction occurs at a level point along the trail. Follow the spur to the left to access Scaly’s summit. The Bartram Trail continues straight ahead. The summit spur is approximately 0.3 miles long, gaining the mountaintop via a series of fairly easy switchbacks along the northeast slope. The final section tunnels through a series of seemingly ancient, gnarled oasis. Several distant views to the north are visible in the leafless winter months. Scaly’s summit is in complete contrast to that of nearby Chinquapin Mountain. Always cool at an altitude of 4804’, Scaly Mountain’s high point is broad, rocky and features expansive views in every direction. Dense thickets of mountain laurel alternate with the open areas, creating a patchwork of hiding places. The views from the summit are spectacular especially those to the south of lofty Rabun Bald (4696’). Far below sparkling mountain lakes and lush green pastures dot the landscape. On exceedingly clear days, a receding line of rounded peaks fade into the western horizon. Take your time and fully explore the area.
Length: 2 mile loop
Perhaps one of the best trails in the area for a panoramic view is the Whiteside Mountain Trail. Beautiful views of the surrounding area can be seen from vantage-points all along the trail. To the north Shortoff and Yellow Mountain are prominent. Chimeytop Mountain rises to the east. To the south the foothills and Piedmont, including Lake Keowee are visible. On the western horizon rises the Nantahala Mountains where the Appalachian Trail meanders. The summit of the mountain reaches an elevation of almost 4900 ft. about 2000 ft. above Whiteside Cove to the south. Rock outcrops and cliffs are numerous. The trail is a 2-mile loop that goes around the back or north side of the mountain and then along the ridge. The total climb is approximately 500’. The trail can be walked in an hour but you will want to allow plenty of time to take in the vistas. Whiteside Mountain is located midway between Cashiers and Highlands on Highway 64 E on the Jackson/Macon County line at what is known as the “big view” overlook. You will see a U.S. Forest Service sign showing you the way to the majestic mountain. After passing the gate to Wildcat Cliffs Country Club look for Whiteside Mountain Drive on the right hand side of Hwy 64. Turn and proceed to well-marked parking area approximately one mile ahead on left. This is a fee area ($2.00) and there is a restroom facility in the parking area.
Length: 4.8 miles Difficulty: Strenuous
Yellow Mountain is a long hike with a fair amount of climbing. Allow a full day to complete this trail. The trail traverses three very beautiful mountains including Cole, Shortoff and Yellow. Several nice views can be gained from Shortoff, but the destination of this hike is the spectacular panoramic vista seen from the top of Yellow Mountain’s newly renovated fire tower. The trail starts at Cole Gap on Buck Creek Road and climbs gradually for about 300’ to the top of Cole Mountain. From there it climbs more steeply gaining 400 ft. more in elevation before reaching the summit of Shortoff. The trail follows the ridge of Shortoff and then starts down the North side. The trail will fork at a much-vandalized sign. Follow the trail to the left into a saddle between Shortoff and Goat Knob which is 450’ lower than Shortoff’s peak. The trail crosses Goat Know and continues down the north side to Yellow Mountain Gap some 900 ft. below Shortoff. From here the trail begins a steep ascent gaining 1000 ft. in elevation to the Yellow Mountain summit, elevation 5127’. The trail is 4.8 miles one way. Hiking time will depend greatly on the hiker’s endurance. To reach the trailhead take Highway 64 east from Highlands 3 miles and turn left onto Buck Creek Rd. (by Shortoff Baptist Church). Follow Buck Creek Road 2.3 miles. The trail will be on the right.
A prominent waterfall that can be viewed from the right side of the car while traveling from Dillard to Highlands on GA 246. There is no public access but the falls can be appreciated from the road. Lower Satulah Falls (Also known as Hidden or Clear Creek Falls) A high and narrow waterfall visible from the overlook approximately 2.5 miles from Main St. on Hwy 28 South.
Located off a dirt road 3 miles South of Highlands on Hwy 106 (Dillard Road). The turn off is marked by a U.S. F. S. sign. Glen Falls is composed of a series of three large waterfalls dropping approximately 50 feet each on the east fork of Overflow Creek in the Blue Valley area. The one mile foot trail down to the falls is steep.
Kalakaleskies AKA Bust Your Butt Falls
Located on Hwy 64/28 west (Franklin Road), 2.5 miles northwest of Highlands on the Cullasaja River. The Sequoia Dam is at the head of these falls. There are 18 small falls within a quarter mile paralleling the road. This is a favorite place to physically enjoy the waterfalls.
Bridal Veil Falls
This picturesque 100 ft. falls cascades over Hwy 64/28 (Franklin Road) just 3 miles from Highlands. In the early days of Hwy 64/28 traveling under the falls time was a requirement.
On 64/28 (Franklin Road) 4 miles from Highlands. A pleasant walk from the highway, the path goes behind the 80’ waterfall.
Lower Cullasaja Falls
On Rt. 64/28 (Franklin Road), 7 miles from town. This 250’ cascade is one of the most photographed falls in NC.
Approximately 20 miles from Highlands, this 411’ falls is the highest in the Eastern United States. The falls can be reached by driving to Cashiers and taking 107 S to the exit or driving via Horse Cove Rd. and taking either Bull Pen Road or Whiteside Mountain Road to Hwy 107. At the stop sign on 107-take a right South toward South Carolina and follow signs to Whitewater Falls.