I found directions for a hike to caves on the Glades Road in the Highland Hiker’s Guide to Day Hikes, and I have never been on this hike before. This is not a particularly well known hike in Cashiers NC, but it is interesting and a little different from the other hikes we have been taking.
The hike mostly follows an old road bed. According to the book, this road was used for bootlegging during prohibition. The trail is pretty level, but it does have some mushy spots where the springs run and a few slight inclines.
About 8/10 of a mile in, the trail splits. This is the loop. The caves are closer on the right fork, so we went that way. The caves are about a quarter of the way around the loop.
I have always enjoyed a vivid imagination, and so I spent much of this hike imagining the lives of the different people who had lived and traveled this area. The caves are reported as being used by Native Americans and a homesteading family by the name of Hawkins while they were building their farm.
The caves are easy to find. There is a large clearing with a trail going off to the right (onto private land). The caves are on the left on the hill. I am not sure if they are actually caves, they are more like cavities between huge boulders. The area reminded me a lot of Granite City, a hike not very far away. There are several of these caves going up the hill, and some are pretty big. The thought of living in them is a bit icky, but if it was raining or dark, I am sure that I would think it was a whole lot better than being outside.
After exploring the caves for a bit, we got back on the trail and followed the loop back around. The trail is a nice example of North Carolina forest, with large stands of hardwood trees and copses of rhododendron and mountain laurel. In the winter with the leaves down, you can see a long distance into the woods.
It took us an hour and forty-five minutes to walk this 3.4 mile loop trail. It was a fun and unusual hike.
Directions from Glenville: Drive south on highway 107, through Cashiers, and turn right on Whiteside Cove Road. Drive several miles and turn left on Bull Pen Road. About a mile in, just past the Slick Rock Trailhead, turn right on Forest Road 4563. About 3/10 of a mile in, there is a grassy parking area before a gate. The trail entrance is on the left just past the parking area and is marked by a brown hiking sign.