The Chattooga Cliffs loop is longer and more difficult. Start at the gate of FS 2052 and walk on the Forest Service road above Cane Creek. When the sound of the creek becomes faint and another creek can be heard, look for a trail on the left. The trail makes a short, moderate descent along Holly Branch. Just before the junction with the Chattooga River Trail, Cane Creek is crossed on stepping stones. If the water is high an alternative crossing on two logs can be made. Turn up river for views of the cliffs and continuation of the loop. After one-third of a mile, there is an intersection with an old logging road. Bear left and take this road to climb out of the gorge. After one mile the trail ends on Whiteside Cove Road at the county line. Turn left. The walk back along Whiteside Cove Road is short and rewarded with a view of a small waterfall on the side of the road.
Hiking along the Chattooga River is dangerous until improvements to the trail are completed.
Length: 2.9 mile loop
Elevation Change: 450 feet
Head & End: Whiteside Cove Road
A sixty mile long corridor along the Chattooga River from its headwaters on Whiteside in North Carolina, southward along the boundary between Georgia and South Carolina was designated by Congress as a Wild and Scenic River in 1974. There is a network of trails to and along the river in the three states. This trail connects to the Bartram Trail, which follows the historic journey of naturalist William Bartram.
Start from Highlands by driving south on Main Street and Horse Cove Road 4.5 miles to end of the pavement and the intersection of Bull Pen and Whiteside Cove Roads. For the Chattooga Cliffs loop, take Whiteside Cove Road .4 mile to FS 2052 and park without blocking access to the gate.
Closest town: Highlands North Carolina, Macon County
For more information:
Highlands Ranger District
Forest Service by calling (828) 526-3765
or by visiting the Ranger Office
or Visitor Center in Highlands, North Carolina.
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