People have an opportunity to hike the historic Kelsey Trail from Whiteside Mountain to Highlands Founders Park on Sept. 18 thanks to the Highlands Plateau Greenway organization.
When Highlands was founded in 1875, there was no road to Whiteside Mountain. So in 1881 Samuel Kelsey began work on a road that would end a quarter mile from the top of Whiteside. One resident who questioned the public benefit of such a road argued it was “of no earthly use to the town, that it goes nowhere and ends in nothing.” But Kelsey persisted, recruiting subscriptions and days of labor from citizens in and outside of Highlands, and after 500 workdays, the first wagon made its journey on July 10, 1883.
For the next sixty years the Kelsey Trail became one of the most popular excursions for the people of Highlands. Although the road was closed to the public in the late 1950s, the Highlands Plateau Greenway will sponsor a nostalgic walk on the original trail from Whiteside Mountain to the Kelsey-Hutchinson Founders Park.
Along the way, small groups will be led to Leila’s Rock, Garnet Rock, the Cullasaja Club Overlook, and Highlands Falls.
Shuttles will leave from the back parking lot of the Rec. Park on Saturday, Sept. 18, at 8:30 a.m., 9 a.m., and 9:30 a.m. The five-mile walk, mostly downhill, takes about four hours and will end with a picnic at Founders Park.
It is suggested you bring good hiking shoes or boots, rain gear, water, a day pack and your camera. Residents and visitors can register for the walk by clicking on the big red button below or leave a message at 828.482.2346.
The $75 cost of the walk includes the picnic lunch and free membership in the Highlands Plateau Greenway.
To register for the hike, click HERE.
Pictured at the top of the article is an aerial view of Whiteside Mountain
Article courtesy of Highlands Plateau Greenway