Driving distance/direction from downtown Highlands, NC: Follow Hwy. 64 east for 5.5 miles from downtown Highlands, NC. Turn right onto Whiteside Mountain Road. Go 1 mile to a well-marked parking area on the left. Restroom facilities are located in the parking lot.
Hiking distance: 2.6 miles round trip
Description: To reach Devil’s Courthouse, follow the Whiteside Mountain trail to the left up the old Jeep trail to the clearing at the top, approximately 1 mile from parking lot. The Devil’s Courthouse trail begins at the far left corner of the clearing. As it winds down the mountain, do not take any of the spur trails to the right, but stay on the main trail that follows the ridge. At approximately 0.5 miles, the trail will open into a clearing and arrive at the mountain’s “saddle.” The trail descends from the saddle to the left and the right. Continue straight along the ridge. Just past the saddle, the trail bears to the right and ascends a rock. The trail follows the left side of the ridge and ends at the Devil’s Courthouse. The panoramic views of the valley offer beautiful opportunities to see fall colors during leaf season.
Footnote: This offshoot trail of the main Whiteside Mountain trail is less traveled and more rugged. It offers beautiful views, but use caution — especially with children — because it also features sheer cliff faces on three sides and does not have the safety cables found on the Whiteside trail.
Hike descriptions adapted from the Highland Hiker’s Guide to Day Hikes.