Whiteside Mountain, Highlands

(4.9/5 based on 320+ reviews on the web)
Whiteside Mountain is a mountain in Jackson County, North Carolina between Cashiers, Highlands, North Carolina, and the Georgia border. Whiteside Mountain can boast the highest cliffs in Eastern North America. It also has a feature called Devil's Courthouse, not to be confused with the Devil's Courthouse 20 miles away in Transylvania County, NC.Since the 1980s, the forest service has tried to restrict access to the Courthouse and has allowed the foot trail to it to grow over because of dangers such as strong winds. They also did not want accidents from paragliding and similar activities taking place from the mountain top or from the Courthouse. There is also an overhang, a small platform less than 7 feet in diameter, connected to Whiteside as if it were a cantilever. Similar overhangs can be found on the Appalachian Trail.HistoryThe Cherokee name for Whiteside mountain is Sanigilâ'gĭ.Legend of Spear FingerCherokee myth says that Spear-finger, the powerful woman monster, built a bridge from the Hiwassee River to Whiteside Mountain.Legend of De SotoThe overhanging edge has a message carved into it, which reads that Hernando de Soto was there and that it was carved by his men who allegedly threw over their sick, crippled horses there. However, it is likely a hoax carved by some boys sometime in 1926 when there was probably much more of the overhang than there is today. Since the terrain is too rough for men and horses to get through, for De Soto to have come through here at a time when there were no roads or pathways is unlikely. De Soto's route most likely took him through the Cumberland Gap from South Carolina.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • The trail leading up to the top is easy, a quick hike, and well maintained, but the top part is not recommended for those afraid of heights. The views sure are pretty though. 
  • Easy and accessible hiking trails, lots of places to sit down and have a hiker's lunch or snack. Beautiful vistas. 
  • There is a nice, 2 mile trail up to the top accross and down, so it does require some effort going up. Once up, the view is great. The path then goes for perhaps a half a mile along the cliffs. Cable ...  more »