You want a view! Have we got views for you. Everywhere you turn in the mountains of western North Carolina you’re treated to another outstanding vista.
Breathtaking. Majestic. Awe inspiring. The sort of views that keep life in perspective; a glimpse which offers so much more than our usual hustle and bustle.
Seriously! Take your pick. BUT if you should find yourself in Highlands, NC, then you’ll want to visit the gorgeous long range, mountain views from Sunset Rock and Sunrise Rock.
And, if you time your visit perfectly, you’ll be rewarded with an amazing mountain sunrise or sunset, and you’ll swear you’ve just witnessed the soul – and grandeur – of life itself.
Sunset Rock and Sunrise Rock sit at the top of Ravenel Park, a tract of land given to the Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust in 1914. That’s right – 1914!
And you’ve guessed it. This year is the 100th anniversary of the creation of Ravenel Park – or what the mayor of Highlands, NC has declared as the “Sunsetennial: 100 Years of Sunsets and Sunrises Together.”
It’s a big to do. You can learn more about the Sunsetennial, it’s history and special events, and the great work of the Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust by visiting their website.
Like with any outing, it’s always best to plan ahead.
There are two parking lots for Sunset Rock. Each one offering very few spaces, so it would be in your best interest to plan ahead and time your visit so you have a decent place to park. Of course, there’s always the option of staying at the Old Edward’s Inn and walking to the park from there.
Located off of Horse Cove Road, which is a continuation of Main Street heading east out of Highlands, and on the right hand side just past the Highlands Nature Center is Sunset Road, a one-lane gravel drive.
You can park in a small lot just before Sunset Road and walk two miles up to the top or, if you get there early enough, drive up to the top and walk about a tenth of a mile to either Sunset or Sunrise Rock.
If you plan on seeing a sunrise or sunset, make sure you have flashlights or headlamps, a jacket, blankets to sit on and some water (you might get thirsty after the walk up or down). And if you happen to take any food, be sure to practice “Leave No Trace” principles and pack out ALL of your garbage.
You can visit Sunset Rock any time of year, weather permitting, but I would imagine fall would be particularly special with the autumn colors at their peak.
Oh! One last thing. Take a camera. You’ll want to show all of your friends the beautiful sunrise or sunset.
Do you have a favorite place to watch the sun rise or set? Share it with us in the comments.
See ya’ on the trail,
Michael (aka Tastelikchickn)