OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES

Summer Activities

The Highlands Plateau has long been known for its pristine natural surroundings; and there is no better time to enjoy those surroundings than the summer season! Tolerable temperatures make enjoying the outdoors that much easier. Not to mention the sheer abundance of outdoor options available, over 10 waterfalls and 10 hiking trails in a 10 mile radius! See some of our favorites below. Not what you’re looking for? Fishing, hiking and geocaching are all popular in this area. For the more adventurous visitor there are whitewater rafting, ziplining and tubing. For more ideas see the list below or visit the Highlands Chamber of Commerce website.

Sliding Rock Falls

Length: 10 feet. Created by the Chattooga River, this natural waterslide glides over a 10-foot high rock face with a few large potholes. The water is quite cool, making it a popular spot during the summer. Visitors can slide down the rock, cannonball into one of the potholes or just wade in the pool below the rock. Directions: From Cashiers, take Highway 107 South for 1.9 miles. Turn right onto Whiteside Cove Road and go another 2.8 miles to the bridge over the Chattooga River.

Dry Falls

Height: 75 feet. Part of the Cullasaja Gorge in the Nantahala National Forest, Dry Falls earned its name because you can take a trail to walk behind the falls and not get wet (don’t count on that last part). This is a massive, thundering waterfall that is not to be missed! Directions: Continue past Bridal Veil Falls for .9 mile to a Forest Service parking area on the left. Follow the stone staircase to the falls, which cascade overhead. A short path takes you behind this waterfall. The $2 parking fee also covers same-day entrance to Whitewater Falls; just be sure to save your receipt.

Sunset Rock

LENGTH AND DIFFICULTY: 0.7 miles one way, easy, USGS Quad-Highlands – Sunset Rock is an ideal choice for a late afternoon stroll in the Highlands area. A short 1/2-hour walk, approximately 0.7 mile one way, leads to a natural cliff side amphitheater where slabs of granite provide front row seats. Beautiful sunsets can be seen over Highlands and Brushy Face Mountain to the west. The vista of Horse Cove to the east (Sunrise Rock) is also worth the walk at any time of the day. – To locate the trail take Main Street (which then becomes Horse Cove Road) east from the intersection of Highways 28 and 64 in Highlands, 0.5 mile to the Highlands Nature Center. Park here and follow the sign indicating a gravel road to Sunset Rock and Ravenel Park. Although the trail is marked “Hiking Trail Only” it is a private drive so do not park as to block it. The road ends at a monument for Ravenel Park. Sunset Rock is to the right.. From Cashiers: Take Highway 64 west to Highlands – at the light on Main Street turn left. Travel 1/2 mile to Nature Center on your left. Across the street from Sunset Rock is the Highlands Botanical Gardens, a very interesting nature walk with all the plant life labeled.

Satulah Mountain Trail

LENGTH AND DIFFICULTY: Highlands:1.6 miles one way, moderate.The Satulah Mountain Trails are a moderate to difficult hike along a mixture of paved roads, an old rocky roadbed and footpaths to a peak of 4543 ft. just south of Highlands. There is a 270º view to the south, east, and west. Views of the Piedmont, Blue Valley, and Rabun Bald are excellent. The roads on this hike are privately owned. The upper portion or Worley Road is open to residents and hikers (foot traffic) only. – Directions: This trail climbs steadily for 1.6 miles gaining 700 feet in altitude. Park your vehicle in downtown Highlands. From downtown Highlands, take highway 28 south toward Walhalla for 0.2 miles until the road makes a sharp curve to the right. Go straight ahead at the curve onto Satulah Road. Half a mile up the road the road forks, continue straight ahead on Worley Road. Follow Worley Road to the turnaround at the end of the road, a distance of about 0.4 miles. The trail to Satulah Mountain is the rocky old roadbed to the right or the footpath to the left. Follow the old roadbed to the right an additional half a mile to the clearing at the top of the mountain.

Winter Activities

While our winter temperatures can be less enjoyable than the summer, there are still unique outdoor activities to enjoy! An enjoyable skiing/snowboarding facility is within a short drive; ice skating is available in Founders Park, right behind The Lofts, and as the leaves begin to fall, the views open up to even more grandeur.

Not interested in being outside on cooler days? Check out our Highlands Playhouse itinerary look up local art exhibits or find a place to taste wines. Asheville is a small drive away, with loads of opportunities for colder days. If you are planning a stay during the colder season and would like suggestions, fill out our contact form and we will be happy to give our recommendations.