Whiteside Mountain, Jackson County

Whiteside Mountain is a mountain in Jackson County, North Carolina between Cashiers, Highlands, North Carolina, and the Georgia border. Whiteside Mountain can boast the highest cliffs in Eastern North America. It also has a feature called Devil's Courthouse, not to be confused with the Devil's Courthouse 20 miles away in Transylvania County, NC.
Since the 1980s, the forest service has tried to restrict access to the Courthouse and has allowed the foot trail to it to grow over because of dangers such as strong winds. They also did not want accidents from paragliding and similar activities taking place from the mountain top or from the Courthouse. There is also an overhang, a small platform less than 7 feet in diameter, connected to Whiteside as if it were a cantilever. Similar overhangs can be found on the Appalachian Trail.
The Cherokee name for Whiteside mountain is Sanigilâ'gĭ.
Legend of Spear FingerCherokee myth says that Spear-finger, the powerful woman monster, built a bridge from the Hiwassee River to Whiteside Mountain.
Legend of De SotoThe overhanging edge has a message carved into it, which reads that Hernando de Soto was there and that it was carved by his men who allegedly threw over their sick, crippled horses there. However, it is likely a hoax carved by some boys sometime in 1926 when there was probably much more of the overhang than there is today. Since the terrain is too rough for men and horses to get through, for De Soto to have come through here at a time when there were no roads or pathways is unlikely. De Soto's route most likely took him through the Cumberland Gap from South Carolina.
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Whiteside Mountain Reviews
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367 reviews
  • Our family of 4 was traveling highway 64 back to Brevard after zip lining with Highland Aerial Park and just spontaneously turned off 64 to Highside Mountain for the trail. We're so glad we did. We'd ...  more »
  • Enjoyed the hike about 2.4mile round trip. We did not do the loop bc of stairs on the return side. Enjoyed the views on top and got to meet some rapellers who were very friendly and informative  more »
  • Not our first visit to this beautiful hike up Whiteside Mountain, but have more pics to share. Date April 6, 2019. We love this area. The mountain is about halfway between Highlands, NC and Cashiers, NC. From Suwanee, GA where we live it’s about a 2 hour scenic drive. Our daughter had a rare weekend break from studying for her Masters Program, Anesthesiologist Assistant (AA), at Emory School of Medicine. This was a wonderful Spring day.
  • I did hike this trail at night even though I was told by many people on Google that it couldn't be done. It was beautiful at night and then I went back the next day and hiked it again. The trail is easy and with a headlamp at night there is no problem with setting where you are going. A moonlight night would be even better because you wouldn't even need a light. Sorry, no nighttime pictures.

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