Level of difficulty: Moderate-to-strenuous, depending on what kind of shape you’re in.
Driving distance/directions from downtown Highlands, NC: 6.6 miles. Take Hwy. 64 East toward Cashiers, right on Whiteside Mountain Road to trailhead and parking lot on left.
Parking: Adequate. U.S. Forest Service charges a parking fee of $2 per vehicle.
Hiking distance: 2-mile loop round trip
Description: Like Satulah, this is an old-time favorite for visitors and Highlands residents alike. Take the loop trail clockwise or counter-clockwise – you still end up at the parking lot. Summit is a ridge with many overlooks to the south (with a spectacular view of the Blue Ridge Escarpment) and to the north and east (view of ridges and mountains overlooking more developed Cashiers area and Whiteside Cove).
Footnote: Various twisting side trails lead to and from adjacent rock outcrop known as the Devil’s Courthouse, but the novice hiker might best do this tangent hike with experienced hikers who have been there previously. For wonderful details about this mountain, consult "The Mountain at the end of the Trail: A History of Whiteside Mountain," by Robert Zahner, 1994, available at the Hudson Library and Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center.
Hike descriptions adapted from the Highland Hiker’s Guide to Day Hikes.