Yellow Mountain Trail

Yellow Mountain Trail is a 11.5 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Highlands, North Carolina that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

Yellow Mountain at 5,127 feet is one of the highest mountains in the Highlands Ranger District. On the top is a fire tower built by the Forest Service and the Civilian Conservation Corps originally in 1934, and reconstructed in the early 1990’s through the joint effort of the Forest Service, local business and civic groups and volunteers. In 1992, the tower was recognized as a National Historic Lookout. Not only is the tower unique but the 360 degree view from the tower is one of the most spectacular in the District.

The trail from Cole Gap to the top of Yellow Mountain starts at an elevation of 4,300 feet and goes along a Cole Mountain ridge at 4,600 feet. There is a short descent before climbing Shortoff to 5,000 feet via a set of switchbacks. At 4,640 feet, from Goat Knob the trail descends to Yellow Mountain Gap at 4,120 feet and makes the final climb up to Yellow Mountain at 5,120 feet.


From the intersection of NC 107 and US 64 in Cashiers, drive 7.3 mi west on US 64, Turn right on Buck Creek and go 2.2 miles, passing Chestnut Hill on right Look for steep path on the right with a small wooden sign and steps leading to the trail Park on the left in the gravel If you pass Cole Mountain Circle, you have gone too far.