Highlands Area Trivia
- Highlands is located at an average elevation of 4100 ft. on a three and a half mile wide and five miles long plateau 130 miles northeast of Atlanta, GA and 80 miles west of Asheville.
- The winter population of Highlands is approximately 3,400 year round and 24,000 four to six months a year.
- The annual average temperatures in Highlands (according to U.S. Climate Data) is 62 degrees (average high) and 41 degrees (average low).
- The Highlands plateau is surrounded by mountain peaks with views of unsurpassed beauty. There are 47 mountain peaks in Macon County over 4000 feet high. A few of the lofty peaks which surround the town of Highlands are Shortoff Mountain ( 5050 ft.), Scaly Mountain (4830 ft.) Satulah Mountain (4560 ft.) Black Rock Mountain (4355 ft.) Big Fodderstack (4280 ft), Brushy Face (4200 ft.) and Little Yellow Mountain (4200 ft.)
- Whiteside Mountain is believed to be the oldest mountain in the world. Its 2,000 foot granite face is the highest sheer precipice in the Eastern United States. From its 5,000 foot summit there is an unobstructed view in every direction and you can see Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
- With the exception of the Pacific slopes of Washington and Oregon, Highlands records the highest rainfall anywhere in the U.S. (average rainfall 79.47 inches)
- There are 534 miles of fishing streams in Macon County.
- 750 species of wildflowers including 24 species of violets have been found.
- There are more than 30 species of salamanders in this area, more than any other area in the world.
- 186 species of birds have been sighted in the area. Rare species include the red breasted nuthatch and brown creeper. The evening grosbeaks, red breasted grosbeaks, purple finches and hummingbirds are the most popular according to birdwatchers.
- The Golden Eagle can be seen around Whiteside Mountain during migration.
- The Chattooga and Cullasaja Rivers have their headwaters here. The Chattooga, designated a National Scenic River, begins near Whiteside Mountain and flows 500 miles via the Savannah River to reach the Atlantic Ocean. The Cullasaja River flows 1,500 miles to the Gulf of Mexico via the Little Tennessee, Tennessee, Ohio, and Mississippi Rivers.
- There are six lakes and many wonderful waterfalls in or near Highlands.
- The Highlands Plateau has a noticeable affinity with Canada. A great land bridge connects it with the northern part of the North American continent, causing Canadian type plants to grow.
- When the glaciers destroyed plant life over much of the continent, this region became the refuge of many plants and when the ice age ended, the plateau and adjacent mountains became a botanical treasury from which the seeds of reforestation of North America were drawn. This explains why there is such a startling resemblance between the flora of our mountains and that of Eastern Asia. (Japan and India are said to be the only other two areas in the world that survived the glacial masses). It is in these places that many of the old tertiary types of plants survived. Certain species of plants are found only in Highlands, India, Japan and China. Examples of this phenomenon are the tulip tree, which grows 9,000 miles away in China; the flame azalea and the rare Shortia.
Trivia facts are from Highlands, North Carolina, a walk into the past by Gert McIntos