Find a unique fall leaf-looking experience in the North Carolina mountains in Jackson County! Go bear "hunting" near Cashiers and "shoot" one with your camera. The “shadow of the bear” is visible for 30 minutes daily (on sunny days!) between 5:30-6:15 PM from mid-October through early November. Watch from the Rhodes Big View Overlook on scenic US Highway 64 a few miles west of Cashiers and five miles east of Highlands.
Insider's tip: This natural phenomenon tends to gather a crowd so please proceed with caution to the overlook. Unknown to many is that the Shadow of the Bear also makes an appearance during our “Secret Season.” Mid-February to early March, the shadow can be enjoyed with little to no crowds at all. Avoid weekend crowds and enjoy the same views on weekdays, along with your pick of charming inns and popular restaurants in the nearby cool towns. See our Jackson County Top 30 Things To Do for more ideas.
Watch the Shadow of the Bear emerge!
During this period, the bear-like shadow comes out of hibernation when the autumnal sun sets behind Whiteside Mountain (read more about the fabulous hike atop Whiteside Mountain). The mountain, with an elevation of 4,930 feet, has sheer rock cliffs that are among the highest in the eastern United States. It provides a splendid setting for viewing leaves throughout autumn, especially during the emergence of the bear.
Tourists and photographers come from near and far to catch a glimpse of this natural phenomenon, which also occurs in late winter from mid February through early March. Also visit the many nearby waterfalls and see more things to do in Jackson County.
Directions from Asheville: I-26 to exit 40/Highway 280/Airport exit to Brevard. Then follow U.S. 64 to Cashiers. Very scenic drive, but many curves b/w Brevard and Cashiers. Allow 2.5 hours to drive. 68 miles.