Bartram Trail from Jones Gap to Whiterock Mountain
Driving distance/direction from downtown Highlands, NC: Follow Hwy. 64 west 4.6 miles. Watch for the Cliffside Lake entrance on the right. Just past Cliffside Lake, turn left on Turtle Pond Road. Follow Turtle Pond Road for 1.1 miles to Dendy Orchard Road. Turn right on Dendy Orchard Road and follow it for 1.4 miles. This will become a steep dirt road. At the top of the hill, turn left onto Jones Gap Road. A Bartram Trail sign indicates this road. Follow it 2 miles to a parking area at the top of the gap.
Hiking distance: 4.6 miles round trip
Description: The Bartram Trail is a 115-mile trail that extends from North Georgia into North Carolina and is named for 18th century botanist William Bartram. The 2.3-mile stretch between Jones Gap and Whiterock Mountain is a perfect section for day-use hiking. At Jones Gap, elevation 4,360 feet, the Bartram Trail passes through a field and circles the right side of Jones Knob to descend to Whiterock Gap. Follow the yellow blazes. At 0.7 miles past the gap, a spur trail to the left goes to Whiterock Mountain. Take this trail and continue past the top of the mountain to the rock face on the far side, which offers great views of the surrounding mountains. A side trail to Jones Knob is also accessible early in the hike at the far end of the field. An additional 0.6 miles up and back on the blue-blazed trail, the Jones Knob trail climbs approximately 300 feet in slightly less than 0.5 miles.
Hike descriptions adapted from the Highland Hiker’s Guide to Day Hikes.