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Jackson County North Carolina Hiking Trails

Yellow Mountain Trail

Length: 4.8  miles
Rating: Strenuous

At 5127 feet, Yellow Mountain is one of the highest mountains in the Highlands Ranger District. On top of Yellow Mountain is the fire tower, recognized as a National Historic Lookout in 1992. The 360° view from the top is worth the climb.

The trail from Cole Gap to the top of Yellow Mountain starts at an elevation of 4300 feet and goes along a ridge of Cole Mountain (4600 feet). There is a short descent before Shortoff (5000 feet) is climbed on a set of switchbacks. At 4640 feet, Goat Knob is not as high as the surrounding mountains, but the descent to Yellow Mountain Gap (4120 feet), and the final climb up to Yellow Mountain (5120 feet) dose make this a strenuous hike.

Shorter hikes can be made by terminating the hike at the view over the western cliffs of Cole Mountain, or by continuing to the top of Shortoff. Both Cole Mountain and Shortoff are known for their plant diversity. Please leave the plants and wildflowers for others to enjoy.
Drive east on US 64 from Highlands North Carolina 2.7 miles and turn left onto Buck Creek Road. Continue 2.3 miles up to Cole Gap. There is a sign and steps at the trail head on the right side of Buck Creek Road.
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