While both Cashiers and Highlands areas are havens for waterfall hikes with cascades on every hand, what you have here is a day’s adventure with “interactive” waterfalls, a spectacular mountain hike, and PIZZA! A great way for a family to spend a day.
Start from Pickens, SC and take US 178 to SC 11. Left on SC 11 to SC 130 toward Whitewater Falls. Just below the Bad Creek Project, jump across to SC 107 using SC 413. Right on 107 and you’ll quickly meet the NC state line.
At the 4.4 mile past the state line, you’ll encounter the parking area for Silver Run Falls. The first of the day’s adventures. The hike to this lovely waterfall is only about 100 yards on a broad, well-maintained trail. And if you’ve got some extra time during warm weather, the kids will want to spend some time swimming in the pool at the base of the falls.
Next, jump in your car and continue north of NC 107 to Cashiers. Turn left on US 64 and drive about 10 miles to Highlands. Continue through town and out the other side. About 2.2 miles out, you’ll suddenly be presented with Bridal Veil Falls. Pull into the parking area enjoy this little gem.
Back in the car and it is only 0.8 miles further on US 64 to Dry Falls and its excellent visitors’ area. Get some photos from the viewing platform, but the most fun is being able actually walk behind a significant waterfall like this. If you’re there during high water flow, it will be thundering in the grotto.
Hungry? It ought to be around lunch time now, so back into Highlands for pizza. As you come into town and before 64 turns left at the Highlands Inn, you’ll see The Pizza Place about half way down the block on the right. Best described as a true hole-in-the-wall, they have an excellent menu of sandwiches, pizzas and other fare.
After refueling at The Pizza Place, jump in the car and head back toward Cashiers on US 64. At about 5.5miles, you’ll find Whiteside Mountain Road along with a Forest Service sign identifying the trailhead. Follow Whiteside Mountain Road up for 1.0 mile until you find the large parking lot for Whiteside Mountain Trail. It is a 2.5 mile loop that will take you along the brink of the 800 foot cliffs of Whiteside Mountain. On a clear day, you will be presented with spectacular views stretching as far as 40 miles. On not-so-clear days, the view is still pretty doggone good.
By the time you return to the parking lot, you’ll have had a full day and will be ready to head back to Cashiers, right on NC 107 and return home the way you came.
Oh, you may want to consider one more stop. Just before you get to the intersection of NC 107 in Cashiers, there is a place on the left to get some ice cream. Go ahead, you deserve it.