WNC's Fire Towers Are the New Hiking Destinations

WRITER: Graham Averill  PHOTOGRAPHER: Andy Lukacs Ormond

WRITER: Graham Averill

PHOTOGRAPHER: Andy Lukacs Ormond

WNC Magazine has put together a really interesting article on Western North Carolina’s beautiful fire towers. Once used to keep our forests safe, now these timeless structures are goals for local hikers.

Come along and find out a little about these beautiful hikes.

From WNC Magazine:

I hate hiking. There, I said it. I’ve been ashamed to admit that for decades—it’s kind of like telling the world you don’t recycle, but it feels good to get that off my chest. OK, “hate” is a strong word, but it’s a matter of work/reward. You hike three miles up the side of a mountain through the trees and what do you get? More damn trees. Maybe a partial view through the leaves. This is the plight of hikers in the Southern Appalachians, a massive range of peaks covered with a forest thicker than your grandma’s shag carpet. The dense cover is great for biodiversity (salamanders and squirrels love it), but it does little for epic views.

I’m thinking about my general dislike of hiking as I’m slogging through a tunnel of trees on my way to the summit of Twentymile Ridge. I’m in the southwest corner of Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Lake Fontana. While an estimated nine million people flock to the park every year, most of them stick to Newfound Gap Road and the trails surrounding that particular highway, which slices through the middle of the park. So, it’s just me and the trees as I ramble through an endless litany of switchbacks on the side of a mountain. But I’m not looking for solitude, I’m seeking something even more precious—a damn view.