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Sunset Rock

Sunset Rock Road leads through a mixed oak forest to a high elevation granite dome community at the summit. A trail to the left of the road leads from Sunset Rock to Sunrise Rock with a view of Horse Cove. Sunset Rock is a public park and an Important Bird Area of Highlands and offers the best panoramic view of Highlands. 

Distance = 0.6 mile 

Easy walk, driving is strongly discouraged

1.4m from Oak Street

Getting There


This Trail is a part of The North Carolina Birding Trail

Begin at the trail head across from the Highlands Nature Center and walk 0.8 miles to the summit on the gravel road. There is excellent birding all along the trail, which runs through a mature mountain forest. The trail is an especially good area for viewing migrating songbirds in spring and fall, including warblers, vireos and other woodland species. At the summit, follow a short trail to the west to Sunset Rock for a view overlooking the town of Highlands and the surrounding mountains. On the summit, watch for soaring vultures, hawks and ravens. Follow the short trail to the east that affords a view of the Highlands Plateau escarpment and Horse Cove Valley.

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