Whiteside Mountain

moderate
appx. 2 mi.
The most popular hike in the Cashiers area is definitely Whiteside Mountain, a moderate hike for those in decent shape. Located just off of Hwy. 64 West between Cashiers and Highlands, Whiteside is part of the vast Nantahala National Forest, which operates and maintains the trails and parking area.

Parking at the Whiteside lot, be sure to pay the day-use fee, which helps fund national forest projects, such as the rest rooms at the parking area and interpretive signs on the trail.

Whiteside is a loop trail that has one short, steep way and one long, gradual way. The steeper half, which leads up and right when you reach the fork (shortly after the parking lot), is the preferred way up.

After about 15 minutes of hiking up, you will reach Whiteside’s nose, which is visible from the first overlook. Whiteside’s nose is a tall cliff that resembles, well, a nose. Watch your footing, though. The dramatic cliffs that make for such great views are precarious, and great care should be taken anywhere near the cliff edges.

From any of Whiteside’s overlooks—and there are many—you can peer deep into the South Carolina foothills. Lake Jocassee is visible on a clear day. The view is breathtaking any day of the year, but looking out over Cashiers’ fall patchwork from this perch is a dream.

After following Whiteside’s ridge, the trail will pass an old covered overlook and loop around and down an old roadbed. At the turn, notice the smaller peak to the west. This is Devil’s Courthouse. If you’re up to it, trails make there way here, as well.

The roadbed makes a gradual descent back to the parking area.

Getting there: Take Hwy. 64 West from the Cashiers crossroads towards Highlands. Just after the dramatic roadside overlook, take a left and follow the brown signs to the parking area.