Level of difficulty: Moderate
Driving distance/directions from downtown Highlands, NC: 5.6 miles. Follow the many twists, turns and hairpin switchbacks of Horse Cove Road down to T-intersection of Bull Pen and Whiteside Cove roads. Bear left on Whiteside 0.8 miles to old logging road, second on right.
Parking: Two spaces on the side of the road
Hiking distance: About 4 miles round trip
Description: Follow this “county line road” dividing Jackson and Macon counties to intersection with Chattooga River Trail. Bear left another 0.2 miles, approximately, to picnic spots along Chattooga River, at confluence with Norton Mill Creek. Look for iron bridge over creek, repaired by Forest Service after the 2004 hurricanes. The Chattooga at this location squeezes into a natural rock sluice, “The Narrows,” before widening out.
Footnote: This is a favorite swimming hole in summer. Do not expect skinny-dipping solitude here.
Hike descriptions adapted from the Highland Hiker’s Guide to Day Hikes.