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Hiking North Carolina's Lookout Towers

Peter J. Barr

John F. Blair, Publisher
$14.95 paperback
5 ½ x 8 ½  
271 pages
black-and-white photos and maps throughout
Published in 2008

North Carolina’s fire lookout towers once stood watch over the mountain forests. Today, they risk becoming forgotten monuments to the value of our wild lands.

Hiking North Carolina Lookout Towers restores glory to these historic forest sentinels. It proves the lookouts to be scenic treasures accessible to anyone who enjoys a vigorous walk in the outdoors and the view from the top of a mountain. Included among the 26 towers covered in the book are:

  • Shuckstack Lookout, a steel tower in Great Smoky Mountains National Park overlooking Fontana Dam and Fontana Lake
  • Wayah Bald Lookout, a stone structure built by the CCC that has been converted into an observation tower offering breathtaking views of Nantahala National Forest
  • Mount Mitchell Lookout, a new observation tower that has followed several previous lookouts atop the highest peak in the eastern United States
  • Mount Cammerer Lookout, a historic tower once in disrepair that now represents a landmark effort in lookout restoration
  • Green Knob Lookout, a former live-in tower that offers stunning views of Pisgah National Forest and the Black Mountains

The tower chapters contain detailed hiking routes of varying difficulty, historical information, descriptions of the views, photos, and maps. Information on lookout tower organizations, towers with restricted access, removed towers, and lookouts just outside of the state is also included.

Hikers and outdoor enthusiasts alike will find North Carolina’s lookout towers to be the perfect hiking destinations.



“Lookout towers used to be places where rangers could view the forests and spot any problems. Today, they are open to anyone who wishes to visit them. Hiking North Carolina's Lookout Towers is a guide for hikers who want to put a destination into their hikes that ends with a great view of the surrounding landscape. An ideal pick for any hiking enthusiast, Hiking North Carolina's Lookout Towers is highly recommended for community library travel collections.”
Midwest Book Review
“Peter Barr has done an outstanding job in combining fire lookout towers, their history, and their current status along with the traditional hiking information. Lots of maps and photos! Peter brings out the plight of the abandoned historic structures and makes a plea for help in saving them! This is a great book for anyone hiking in western North Carolina or anyone wanting to go there. Even if you hadn't particularly wanted to go there, if you're interested in lookouts and hiking, Hiking North Carolina's Lookout Towers will make you want to! A must for fire lookout enthusiasts or anyone interested in learning more about them!”
Gary Weber, Amazon.com reviewer