Iron Bridge Loop

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Iron Bridge Loop Trail

The Iron Bridge loop trail is a very short portion of the longer Chattooga trail. From the Iron Bridge and bulletin board the trail follows up the river for approximately one 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. Here you will find many great photo opportunities. The hiker can also follow the road from the parking area to the bulletin board.

Within the Highlands Ranger District, a trail is under construction from Whiteside Cove Road to Bull Pen Road. Construction was interrupted in 1993 to clear existing trails of downed trees and uprooted rhododendron after the March 1993 blizzard. Hiking on this trail is not advised because of missing bridges and other hazards. However, there are two shorter loop trails which can be hiked.

Hiking along the Chattooga River is dangerous until improvements to the trail are completed.


2 mile loop

Elevation Change:



Bull Pen Road

Attractions & Considerations:

A sixty mile long corridor along the Chattooga River from its headwaters on Whiteside in North Carolina, southward along the boundary between Georgia and South Carolina was designated by Congress as a Wild and Scenic River in 1974. There is a network of trails to and along the river in the three states. This trail connects to the Bartram Trail, which follows the historic journey of naturalist William Bartram.

Directions: From Highlands, North Carolina

Start from Highlands by driving south on Main Street and Horse Cove Road 4.5 miles to 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 3.0 miles to the Iron Bridge. There is parking on the road.


Closest town:

Highlands North Carolina
Macon County

For more information:

Highlands Ranger District 
Forest Service (828) 526-3765
or by visiting the Ranger Office or
Visitor Center in Highlands, North Carolina.