Highlands is one of the highest towns east of the Mississippi River, with an elevation at 4,118 feet. Located in one of the few temperate rainforests in North America. Highlands is surrounded by the Nantahala National Forest, is home to amazing restaurants, fabulous shopping and tons of outdoor activities like waterfalls, hiking and fishing.
Several weeks a year the unique image Shadow of the Bear appears on Whiteside Mountain.
The town of Highlands has something for everyone!
Wayah Bald has a vantage point of 5,342 ft. If you go on a clear day you can see the Great Smoky Mountains to the north, the the rolling high hills of Georgia to the south. The lookout was listed on the National Historic Registry in 2007 & the roof of the lookout was rebuilt in 2018 after the wildfires of 2016 burned it.
From the lookout enjoy panoramic views of the Southern Appalachian Mountains.
Franklin is located in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains at the Foothills of the Smoky Mountains. It was recently named the 25th Best City to Live in NC by the US Chamber of Commerce. Franklin is known as the Gem Capital of the World, and is home to native rubies & sapphires. Franklin is nestled in the Nantahala National Forest (the largest National Forest in the State), and has over 600 miles of hiking trails (including the Appalachian Trail and Bartram Trail).