Dry Falls - Whiteside Mt. - Sunset Rock Trail - Highlands, NC

August 3, 2010

This week's hike was on several short trails near Highlands, NC. We visited Dry Falls, Whiteside Mountain, The Highlands Nature Center and Sunset Rocks.

HIKERS - John Bellamy, June Bellamy, Phil Brownrigg, Bill Hunt, Jack Jacobi, Wanda Miller, Wayne Miller, Jeanne O'Connor, Don Preece, Donna Presley, Tony Presley, Vic Robson, Dan Ross, David Whitaker and Geri Whitaker.

TRAIL INFO. - Hiking in the Highlands, NC area offers relief from the summertime heat. The Dry Falls Trail is a short quarter mile trail to a spectacular Waterfall. It is very powerful and the trail allows you to walk behind the falls to the other side while enjoying the intense sound and cool mist from the falls. The Whiteside Mt. Trail is an awsome 2 mile loop that takes you accross the summit of the mountain past multiple rock cliffs with spectacular views of the NC mountains and valleys below. Peregrine Falcons nest in the rock cliffs and if you are lucky, you will see them soaring around as you cross the mountain top. The Highlands Nature Center / Biological Station has an array of very nice nature trails to enjoy including the lake loop and Rhododendron Trail. Finally, the Sunset Rock Trailhead is across the street from the Nature Center and it takes you .6 miles up to Sunset Rock and Sunrise Rock.

Total hiking distance today - Approximately 5 miles with some hills. We rate it moderately easy.

Directions: Dry Falls - From Highlands, take Hwy 64 west for just over 3 miles from it's intersection with Hwy 106. Look for a brown and white forest service sign for Dry Falls and turn left into the parking area. Whiteside Mountain - From downtown Highlands, go east on US 64 for 5.5 miles to the Whiteside Mountain Road sign turn right on paved road NC 1600 and go .6 mile. Highlands Biological Station - From Dillard, GA: Take Hwy 106 to Highlands and turn right onto Main Street. Continue straight through town. Turn left onto Sixth St. and make a right turn into the Station driveway.

Another great day for a hike! Partly Cloudy and warm with temperatures ranging from 71 to 80 degrees F.

FLOWERS IN BLOOM: Spikenard, yellow Wood Sorrel, Alumroot, Lobelia, Summersweet, Joe Pye Weed, Bush Honeysuckle, Daisy Fleabane, New England Aster, Tall Goldenrod, Rosebay Rhododendrun, White Woods Aster, White Snakeroot, White Whorled Aster, White Flat-topped Aster, Heal All, White Yarrow, Whorled Coreopsis, Evening Primrose, Woodland Sunflower, Virgin's Bower, Spotted Jewelweed, Tall Sunflower, Southern Harebell, Starry Campion, Hawkweed, Bergamot, Spiderwort, Tall Bluet, Hairy Loosestrife and Rattlesnake Plantain Orchid.

BIRDS IDENTIFIED: Crow, Junco, Towhee, Carolina Wren, Veery, Broad Wing Hawk, Indigo Bunting, Blue Jay, Cardinal.

Scroll down for photos and video from today!

We started the day at spectacular Dry Falls!
The trail takes you behind the falls to the other side!
We enjoy the viewing platform on the other side.
Looking from behind the falls down to the Cullasaja Gorge below.
Next, we move over to Whiteside Mt. for a nice 2 mile loop trail.
Headed to the summit of Whiteside Mountain!
Hiking across the summit of the mountain brings you past multiple
viewpoints of the massive rock faces and surrounding mountains and valleys.
Nice mountain views!
Awesome rock face called Devil's Courthouse.
Daredevil Dan on top of the Courthouse!
Wildflower "Evening Primrose"
Lunchtime at the Highlands Biological Station.
Mushrooms of the week!
On the Lake loop trail, we find beautiful Water Lilies blooming.
Next, we hike the Sunset Rock Trail.
Nice views overlooking Highlands from Sunset Rocks.
The OFHC gang for today's hike. (l-r) Tony Presley, Dan Ross, Donna Presley, Jeanne O'Connor, Geri Whitaker, Jack Jacobi, Phil Brownrigg, David Whitaker, Don Preece, Vic Robson, Bill Hunt, June Bellamy, John Bellamy, Wanda Miller and Wayne Miller.

More photos!
Whiteside 8-3-10

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