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. See a one-minute time lapse video of the shadow forming here.
While this occurrence is worth seeing, be aware and cautious of busy highway traffic when parking and leaving the site.
By the numbers:
5:30 p.m.: The time of day the “Shadow of the Bear” begins to form.
30 minutes: The number of minutes the Bear is visible.
6 weeks: The total weeks out of the year “The Shadow of the Bear” is visible.
4,930 feet: The height of Whiteside Mountain, where the shadow can be viewed. For more information, contact Cashiers Area Travel and Tourism.