Archive for the ‘Recreation’ Category

2601273981_b68cf66a53When Samuel T. Kelsey discovered Highlands, NC with Clinton C. Hutchinson way back in 1844 they had a inkling that one day the land would be a major crossroads in the region. Highlands did develop into a very popular destination and continues to be to this very day. The tourist that flocks to Highlands every season causes the population to grow some 15 times over the permanent norm. People come from miles and miles around to get a way from the day to day burdens of everyday life.

Highlands, NC and the surrounding area seem to offer the perfect refuge for those who seek emotional relief. Highlands is located in the southwestern tip of North Carolina in the Appalachian Mountains. Comfortably surrounded by the Nantahala National Forest the area is as beautiful as any you will find on earth. Tourists seem to differ on which season is best to visit Highlands. Many prefer the summer season where the temperature rarely hits 80 degrees while others are taken with the winter season and the snow blanketed winter wonderland. Highlands, NC seems to have something for everybody. Rather you like to fish, hike, swim, golf, play tennis, shop or simply enjoy breathtaking scenery Highlands has it all.

The trout fishing in Highlands, NC is as good as anywhere east of the Appalachians. The trout are so hospitable they seem to hop on your hook just to see you smile. Both the Cullasaja River and the Chattooga River offer fishing that will lay the foundation for memories and fish stories that will suffice a lifetime. Harris Lake as well as others are well known for superb hook and line destinations as well. In addition the shops in Highlands offer all the gear you need to make your fishing trip comfortable and rewarding.

If you prefer hiking than Highlands, NC offers some of the most beloved nature trails this side of Yellowstone. The area could easily be a backpacker’s paradise. Whether it is the Appalachian Mountains, the Nantahala National Forest or the many scenic waterfalls the area is a backpackers dream. Until you have hiked in the land where the mountains seem to touch the sky or experienced the wonder that is Dry Falls, Bridal Veil Falls or Cullasaja Falls your eyes have not witnessed nature at its finest.

In addition you can find comfort at one of the many Highlands lodging locations and enjoy some of the finest dining your mouth has ever been blessed with. If Golf is your idea of relaxation than the Highlands Country Club, which was created by the legendary golfer Bobby Jones back in the 1930’s, will satisfy this desire. You can also play tennis or swim. If shopping is your cup of tea than you will find numerous antique shops, clothing apparel shops and gift shops as well. If you enjoy sight seeing you can visit the Bascom, which is a visual arts center or stop by the Highlands Historical Society. There are so many things to do in Highlands that it is hard to mention them all. When it comes to recreational activities Highlands, NC has more than enough to offer.


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Photo by amburn.everett

Photo by amburn.everett

No matter where your entry point is onto the Southern Highroads, you’re guaranteed a place closeby that offers Whitewater Rafting. I, personally, have not done it.. don’t want to do it.. but will gladly watch my mother-in-law do it (don’t laugh! heh). So below are some options along Southern Highroads to partake in Whitewater Rafting.

Rafting the Chattooga River – The Chattooga River covers North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. The Chattooga is one of the very few commercially-rafted class V rivers in the Southeast. The Chattooga is a free-flowing river (no upstream dam to control the flow) which quickly responds to rainfall or drought conditions.

Cartecay River Whitewater -The Cartecay River runs through Ellijay, Georgia. It is the site of a class II whitewater run. The river is a tributary of the Coosawattee River. Both the Cartecay and Ellijay Rivers meet in Ellijay and merge to form the Coosawattee River. The Cartecay River and most of the watershed are located within the southeast corner of Gilmer County, Georgia, but there are small sections of the watershed in Fannin, Pickens, and Dawson Counties.

Nantahala River – Easy Class II rapids before heading into the Class III. Eight miles long and waiting for you to come on in! The water is fine!

Rafting on the Ocoee River -I spoke about rafting on the Ocoee before so I won’t go into it here too much, just suffice to say, it’s beautiful, it’s popular, it was in the Olympics.

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Along the Southern Highroads Trail, you don’t have to venture far into South Carolina to find natural beauty. When you drive through SC, there are many available places to pull over to see the scenic views, and even more opportunities to pull over to see natural beauty. Let me provide you some examples:

stumphouse_tunnelStumphouse Tunnel – The tunnel was a project that was planned in the 1850s to connect South Carolina to the Midwest with a direct rail line.  Unfortunately, work on the project was abandoned during the War Between the States due to the lack of funds. 1,300 feet of the tunnel is open to the public.

Issaqueena Falls – A short easy walking trail leads from Stumphouse Mountain Park to Issaqueena Falls, a beautiful 200-ft. cascade. Legend has it that the Indian maiden, Issaqueena, rode to the nearby fort to warn of a pending Indian attack and then escaped pursuing Indians by pretending to leap over the falls, but actually hiding beneath them.

chattooga_riverBrasstown Falls – Brasstown Falls is a series of three equally dramatic cascades that drop over 120 feet: Brasstown Cascades, Brasstown Veil, and Brasstown Sluice. If you are searching for more, look for Little Brasstown Falls, a 40 foot waterfall, located just above the Brasstown Cascades!

Chattooga River – Designated the South’s first National Wild and Scenic River in 1974, the Chattooga is one of the premier whitewater rafting rivers in the Eastern United States, dropping an average of 49.3 feet per mile. Made famous in the movie “Deliverance,” the Chattooga is one of the longest and largest free flowing mountain rivers in the Southeast that remains in a relatively undeveloped condition. The Chattooga forms the boundary between South Carolina and Georgia and offers wonderful boating, fishing and rafting experiences.

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Rafting on the OcoeeOne river flowing through two states, Georgia and Tennessee. In Georgia it’s the Toccoa River and in Tennesse it’s the Ocoee River. Today we’ll be focusing on the Tennessee side with the Ocoee River.

Photo by daneen_vol

Photo by daneen_vol

The Ocoee River was host for the whitwater slalom events in the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. You can still ride the Ocoee, and there are plenty of places for rafting on the Ocoee. A lot of these places are right along side the actual Southern Highroads Highway, so there’s no traveling off the beaten path. The drive alongside the river is absolutely spectacular.

For some extra information in regards to visiting the Ocoee River area, visit the official website… Ocoee River Area.

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