"Iron Bridge"

Categories: Hiking & Backpacking, Museums & Historic Sites, Fishing for Wild Trout


  •  Historic Bridge straddles Jackson & Macon County lines over the Chattooga River
  •  Hiking, Simming & Fishing 
  •  Photo Opportunity
  •  Great spot to visit in the Summer and Fall

The Local Scoop

If you are looking for a scenic drive to take your family or significant other on while in the Highlands area, then Bull Pen Road would be a good one to take. Take "Bull Pen Road" for 3 miles from the fork at the end of "Horse Cove Road."  At 3 miles you'll find yourself at the "Iron Bridge" and the Chattooga River. The views of the river from the bridge are fantastic as the large cascade rushes underneath you. Look down river and see a smaller, cascading "Ammons Branch" coming into the river for a gorgeous setting. Use the predominant trailhead at the Chattooga River Cliffs Trail (Lower) for exploring up river. It is located on the Macon County side of the bridge at the small parking area. The evenings make great photo opportunities come to life, so bring your camera and get some great shots of the river and bridge. We recommend this location for the entire family to enjoy.  
Interested in camping out in this area?  There are many opportunities to do so.  The nearby "Ammons Branch Campground" (you will have passed it on the way to the bridge) is an excellent location for frontcountry but "primitive" camping.  Also, Bull Pen Road has other random campsites located along the roadside as you make your way towards Cashiers (NC Hwy-107).  You can find them near the Iron Bridge, Scotsman Creek & Fowler Creek.

The Local Directions

From main intersection of U.S. Hwy-64/ N.C. Hwy-28 in Highlands, NC drive through main street until the road turns into Horse Cove Road (just past Mtn. Fresh Grocery on your Right). Drive for 4.5 miles until you come to a fork in the road at a brown mileage sign. Take the right onto "Bull Pen Road" for 3 miles to the trailhead at the Chattooga River and "Iron Bridge."

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Difficulty Levels

  • Fishing2/6What's this?
  • Hike4What's this?
35.015956, -83.126359
Moderate via Horse Cove Road
& Bull Pen Road (Highlands) 
Hike Distance
Roadside Pull-off
Nearest City
Macon County
Distance From
Campsite near bridge, 0.3 mile
Ammons Branch Campground, 1.9 miles
Highlands, 7.5 miles
Cashiers, 12.1 miles