Whiteside Mountain is a beloved local landmark for Cashiers and the surrounding area. With an elevation of 4,930 feet, it boasts sheer rock cliffs that are among the highest in the eastern United States. With its iconic rock faces, views, and abundant foliage there’s no wonder this mountain is a year-round spectacle.
There is one seasonal display, however, that adds to the Mountain’s show. Coming out of hibernation each Autumn, “The Shadow of the Bear” is visible for 30 minutes on sunny days between 5:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. from mid-October through early November due to the setting of the autumnal sun behind the mountain.
Visible from the “Rhodes Big View Overlook” off Highway 64, the Bear starts with a small dark shadow at the bottom of the valley, and it grows ever larger seemingly evolving from a turtle to a cat to a floppy-eared dog-- finally revealing itself as a Bear.
While this occurrence is worth seeing, be aware and cautious of busy highway traffic when parking and leaving the site.
Th Rhodes Big View Overlook and parcel of land is protected in perpetuity by the Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust for the benefit of the public, thanks to the generosity of the Raoul Alstaetter-Rhodes family who donated the land in October of 2006. This year marks the 12th anniversary of preservation. For more historic information about the overlook and how it was acquired by Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust, click here.
Click here to view footage of the Shadow of the Bear provided by Jackson County Tourism Development Authority.