Glades Road CAVES

Categories: Hiking & Backpacking


  •  Nice hike through the forest that follows an old roadbed that was used for boot-legging long ago 
  •  Multiple cavernous exploration opportunities 
  •  Cherokee Indians used these caves

The Local Scoop

Once you arrive at the parking area for the Glades Road Caves via Glades Road (or FR 4563) Bull Pen Road you will need to look for a small brown trial sign (w/hiking sticker) approximately 50 feet to your Right, this is your trailhead for the Caves. As you're hiking along you will notice side trails/old roadbeds, stay to your Right and on the obvious trail. The trail starts out slightly uphill, then levels out some, then goes downhill, then back up a little right before the caves. So a mixed terrain can be expected. Some trees have fallen over the trail so you will need to manuvere around those, nothing too serious though. A small spring flows through portions of the trail once you get closer to the caves but again, nothing too serious to navigate. Approximately 17-20 minutes into your hike you will come upon another small brown trail sign that says "loop" on it. Keep to your Right here, you are approx. 8 minutes from the Caves on your Left and uphill. The first "Cave" you come to is small but very interesting to explore. Scoot underneath the overhang to get some pretty cool views of how the rocks have slid into place over the years. We recommend using extreme caution around these caves, especially with young childeren. As you continue to explore, work your way around the Left side of the boulders and uphill. Above the first "Cave" you explore is an even better example of something the Cherokee Indians may have used. Be sure to bring a flashlight and camera on your journey. The caves are dark. I like to leave some things to the imagination so I'll wrap it up here with saying again, please use extreme caution around this area but have fun exploring!

The Local Directions

From main intersection of U.S. Hwy-64/ N.C. Hwy-28 in Highlands, NC drive through main street until the road turns into Horse Cove Road (just past Mtn. Fresh Grocery on your Right). Drive for 4.5 miles down into the cove (driving through roughly 40 curves on the way down) until you come to a fork in the road and a brown mileage signs with yellow letters. To your left is "Whiteside Cove Rd." and to your Right is "Bull Pen Rd.". Take the Right onto Bull Pen Rd. for 1.0 mile. You will see "Glades Road" (FR 4563) on your Right (gated but open), take this gravel/grass Forest Road for 0.3 miles to large, grassy parking area on the Left. Trailhead is approximately 50 feet to the Right of the parking area.

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35.02341, -83.14882

Highlands, NC 28741
Macon County
Nearest City
Distance From
FROM (Town): Highlands, 5.9 miles HIKE: 1.2 miles (one-way)