Highlands’ awe inspiring setting provides access to the complete outdoor experience – camping, hiking, birding, fly fishing, horseback riding, gem mining, world class whitewater sports, and zip line canopy tours. Try these must see points of interest:
Whiteside Mountain: Home to the ‘Shadow of the Bear” is situated along the Eastern Continental Divide. This land, once part of the Cherokee Nation, offers grand vistas from its shear granite cliffs to the valleys which lie nearly 5,000 feet below. Watch closely to glimpse peregrine falcons soaring overhead.
Highlands Botanical Gardens & Nature Center: Explore 12 acres of diverse flora of the southern Appalachian Mountains. Opened in 1962 the gardens are a quiet refuge and home to native trees, plants, and wildflowers. The Nature Center offers exhibits and educational programs for the entire family.
Bridal Veil Falls: Picturesque and the only waterfall in North Carolina that you can drive beneath.
Dry Falls: Where the river cascades over a rock outcrop and one can walk beneath the rushing water.
Glen Falls & Chinquapin Mountain: Combine a hike, three waterfalls and a beautiful stream in this outdoor adventure.
Sunset Rock: A front row view of the fiery setting sun descending across Blue Valley and the distant mountains. A great place to enjoy a picnic lunch or dinner.
Chills and Thrills
If splashing about in the outdoors is more your style, our cool mountain streams await you.
Bust Your Butt Falls: This popular swimming hole, a favorite among locals, lies on the Waterfall Byway near Bridal Veil and Dry Falls. The brave, can jump from riverside boulders into the Cullasaja River.
Cliffside Lake: Enjoy a family picnic along with hiking, fishing and swimming in this recreational park. The lake has a small beach ideal for families with young children.
Sliding Rock: A slick rock face perfect for taking a quick trip into a “cool” pool. Located in pastoral Horse Cove. While in the area visit the “World’s Smallest Post Office” and Bull Pen Bridge spanning the rugged Chatooga River featured in the 1972 thriller film Deliverance.
Nantahala Outdoor Center: The thrill of whitewater rafting on the region’s best rivers is nearby at the NOC, proud host of the 2013 ICF Canoe Freestyle World Championships in September.
Highlands Aerial Park: Combine the zip line alpine courses of Europe and the rain forest canopy tours of Central America and you get Highlands Aerial Park. Fun for all ages.
Scaly Mountain Outdoor Center: Rediscover the fun of trout fishing, seasonal ice skating, and snow tubing in winter or summer. Hungry? Catch a bite at the Annie’s Cafe.