In search of hidden lookout towers
The line-up of hikes in the Lookout Tower Challenge spans Western North Carolina. Seven are located in the Nantahala National Forest, including Wayah Bald and Albert Mountain along the Appalachian Trail.
Five more towers can be found in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, including Shuckstack, overlooking Fontana Dam, and Clingmans Dome, atop the highest peak in the park. And the Blue Ridge Parkway provides access to several more towers, like Fryingpan Mountain near the Pisgah Inn or Green Knob near Mt. Mitchell. Even the newly constructed tower atop Mt. Mitchell, eastern America’s highest peak, is included in the Challenge.
Hikers who make it to all 24 lookouts get an embroidered hiking patch and a certificate of completion from the Carolina Mountain Club. They also receive formal recognition at the hiking club’s annual dinner banquet and inclusion in its newsletter. But the greatest reward is the magnificent vistas afforded by the towers.
Here’s a list of all 24 towers in the challenge:
Nantahala mountains: Wayah Bald, Wesser Bald, Albert Mountain, Yellow Mountain, Panther Top, Cowee Bald, Joanna Bald.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Clingmans Dome, Shuckstack, Mt. Cammerer, Mt. Sterling, Mt. Noble.
Blue Ridge Parkway: Fryingpan Mountain, Green Knob, Mt. Mitchell, Barnett Knob, Flat Top Mountain.
Other Towers: Little Snowball, Rendezvous Mountain, Moores Knob, Chambers Mountain, Bearwallow Knob, Rich Mountain, Camp Creek Bald.