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A sixty mile long corridor along the Chattooga River in North Carolina, Georgia and South Carolina was designated by Congress as a Wild and Scenic River in 1974.

The Chattooga and Iron Bridge Loop Trail is a very short portion of the longer trail. From the Iron Bridge the trail follows up the river for approximately 1 mile. At the sign, turn left for a gradual climb to an old logging road and the parking area above the Iron Bridge. A trail from the parking area makes a left turn and continues down to the river and Iron Bridge.

The Chattooga Cliffs Loop is longer and more difficult. Start at the gate of Forest Service Road 2052 and walk on the road above Cane Creek. When the sound of the creek becomes faint and another creek can be heard, look for a trail on the left. The trail makes a short, moderate descent along Holly Branch. Just before the junction with the Chattooga River Trail, Cane Creek is crossed on stepping stones. Turn up river for views of the cliffs and continuation of the loop. After 1/3 mile, there is an intersection with an old logging road. Bear left and take this road to climb out of the gorge. After 1 mile the trail ends on Whiteside Cove Road at the county line. Turn left and walk back along Whiteside Cove Road to view a small waterfall.

Directions: From Highlands, NC, For both loops, start by driving south on Main Street and Horse Cove Road 4.5 miles to the end of the pavement and the intersection of Bull Pen and Whiteside Cove Roads. For the Iron Bridge loop, take Bull Pen road which is on the right and drive 3 miles to Iron Bridge. Parking is on the road. for the Chattooga Cliffs loop, take Whiteside Cove Road .4 mile to Forest Road 2052 and park without blocking the gate.

Elevation: 3,200 feet

Elevation Gain: 450 feet

Distance: 5 miles

Difficulty: Strenuous

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Nantahala National Forest, North Carolina

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The details, dates, and prices mentioned here were accurate at the time of publication.

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