Whiteside Mountain, Jackson County

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.
The 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.
Plan your visit to Whiteside Mountain and a wealth of other attractions, well-known and undiscovered, using our Jackson County trip itinerary maker website .
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Whiteside Mountain Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5.0
367 reviews
Google
5.0
TripAdvisor
  • Our family of 4 was traveling highway 64 back to Brevard after zip lining with Highland Aerial Park and just spontaneously turned off 64 to Highside Mountain for the trail. We're so glad we did. We'd ...  more »
  • Enjoyed the hike about 2.4mile round trip. We did not do the loop bc of stairs on the return side. Enjoyed the views on top and got to meet some rapellers who were very friendly and informative  more »
  • Whiteside is a hike we do each year when visiting Highlands NC. It is a little over an hour and close by. There are usually other hikers all enjoying the trail but the best part is all the dogs! Bring...  more »
Google
  • Not our first visit to this beautiful hike up Whiteside Mountain, but have more pics to share. Date April 6, 2019. We love this area. The mountain is about halfway between Highlands, NC and Cashiers, NC. From Suwanee, GA where we live it’s about a 2 hour scenic drive. Our daughter had a rare weekend break from studying for her Masters Program, Anesthesiologist Assistant (AA), at Emory School of Medicine. This was a wonderful Spring day.
  • I did hike this trail at night even though I was told by many people on Google that it couldn't be done. It was beautiful at night and then I went back the next day and hiked it again. The trail is easy and with a headlamp at night there is no problem with setting where you are going. A moonlight night would be even better because you wouldn't even need a light. Sorry, no nighttime pictures.
  • Honestly the best hike I’ve been on, it’s a big loop trail that brings you zig zag up the mountain to the best view points. If adventurous I definitely recommend taking some of the side trails at the top that take you to the edge with no fence, such an amazing trail!
  • Gorgeous! It is a bit of a tourist trap, but the views are absolutely beautiful! If you bring a dog, keep them in a leash! The cable railing is secure, but there are gaps!
  • Beautiful hike any time of year, amazing views along the way ! Take the service road up (left trail) and come down on the right (unless you like climbing stairs) ... you will enjoy open views to the South while hiking across the top of a rock face cliff for about 3/4 of a mile. So cool. Total hike is about 2 mile loop.
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