Granite City is a fascinating place to spend an hour or so if you find yourself in need of something to do in the Highlands/Cashiers area of the southwest mountains. Here, over the eons, weathering has broken down the steep southern slopes of a rocky ridge and split it into a series of rugged fissures, ledges, and small caves. The name 'Granite City' will seem immediately appropriate as you wander over, around, and through this massive stone jungle-gym.
Located off Whiteside Cove Road southeast of Highlands, Granite City is a bit difficult to find if you don't know where you're looking. I'd suggest finding a good USFS or Nat Geo trail map of the area before you set out. The trailhead is unmarked but you'll see a well-used path heading straight up the ridge if successfully locate it. The access trail itself is quite steep but thankfully very short. Less than a quarter-mile of walking (or, scrambling as it were) will take you from your vehicle to Granite City itself. Upon arriving in the 'City' I suggest you simply do as we did in this album and choose your own adventure. Every nook-and-cranny of this granite maze offers something new to see, its quite wonderful. Just a note also, try to make your way steadily uphill as some of the biggest rock fissures are found near the upper extremity of the City.
As this isn't all that much of a hike this isn't a large album. It's just meant to give you a taste of what there is to see in this relatively unknown portion of Nantahala National Forest. So, come on along with my boys and I as we spend a quick bit of 'play time' in the southern mountains...as always, ENJOY!!!
Trailhead GPS Coordinates: 35.04396, -83.13812
Mileage Hiked: 0.6 miles Hike Duration: 0:45
Trailhead Temp: 70'F Trail Traffic: 5-10 people
Min. Elevation: 3,050' Max. Elevation: 3,245'
Total Vertical Gain: 360' Avg. Elevation Gain / Mile: 600'