About Us

The Highlands Biological Station (HBS) is a multi-campus center of Western Carolina University. It is made up of the Highlands Nature Center, Laboratory, and Botanical Garden. HBS is supported in part by the Highlands Biological Foundation. Our mission is: 

To foster research and education focused on the rich natural heritage of the Highlands Plateau, while preserving and celebrating the integrity of the “biological crown of the southern Appalachian Mountains.”

HBS realizes its mission of education and research broadly through
– Supporting scientific research and graduate training
– Offering accredited field-centered courses and community workshops/seminars
– Hosting visiting academic researchers and classes
– Providing diverse outreach programming for regional K-12 schools and the local community

Woodcut image of local flowers, a nature scene and a salamanderStation Logo

The three panels of the HBS logo symbolize the key facets of the Station.

The Nature Center is represented by the salamander panel, the Botanical Garden is symbolized by Oconee bells, and the research and educational dimensions of the Station and Foundation are represented by the central panel signifying the ecology of the Highlands Plateau.

Click on the buttons below to learn more about each panel of the Logo.

Getting Here

Our address is: 265 North Sixth Street, Highlands, NC 28741

  • From Cashiers, NC:  Take Hwy 64 W to Highlands and turn left onto Main St.  Continue straight through town. Turn left onto Sixth St. and make a right turn into the Station driveway.
  • From Franklin, NC:  Take Hwy 64 E (the Gorge Road) to Highlands.  Road becomes Main Street.  Continue straight through town.  Turn left onto Sixth St. and make a right turn into the Station driveway.
  • From Walhalla, SC:  Take Hwy 28 to Highlands and turn right onto Main Street.  Continue straight through town. Turn left onto Sixth St. and make a right turn into the Station driveway.
  • From Dillard, GA:  Take Hwy 106 to Highlands and turn right onto Main Street.  Continue straight through town. Turn left onto Sixth St. and make a right turn into the Station driveway.

Airports

We are located within 3 hours of 4 major regional/national airports. Please note that most of these airports do not have regularly scheduled shuttles to and from Highlands, so you will need to make arrangements for ground transportation to get to Highlands.

Airport (click to visit website) City Time to HBS Ground Transportation (click to see options)
Asheville Regional Airport Asheville, NC 1.5 hours AVL Ground Tranportation
Greenville-Spartanburg Intl. Airport Greer/Greenville, SC 2 hours GSP Ground Transportation
Jackson-Hartfield Atlanta Intl. Airport Atlanta, GA 2.5 hours ATL Ground Transportation
McGhee-Tyson Airport Knoxville, TN 3 hours TYS Ground Transportation

Shuttle Services

These shuttle services are not verified or endorsed by HBS or WCU. Please use your discretion when arranging these.

Highlands Ride Service
Mountain Motor Coach

Public Transportation

Public transportation is limited due to the rural nature of this area. However, Macon County Transit operates reasonable services during the week. Once you’re in Highlands everything is within walking distance, including groceries, shopping, and public parks. Uber and Lyft services may be available but they should not be relied upon for last-minute trips.