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Yellow Mtn. Fire Tower, Nantahala National Forest

North Carolina native, Steven Naylor is constantly on an adventure. His photography takes you on a journey and really tells the story of where he’s been. These Field Guides will lead you to some amazing places and hopefully inspire you to get out and get exploring.

Clyde Oak Field Guide:
Steven Naylor / @scubagram

Yellow Mountain fire tower offers amazing views in all directions and is worth the roller coaster of a hike to get there. Starting from Cole Gap on Buck Creek Road near Highlands, NC, follow the Yellow Mountain trail for about 5.5 miles. Just feet from the road, the trail closes in with a thick canopy of tress and doesn't really offer any views until the fire tower. The Yellow Mountain trail will lead you up and down over a couple different mountains; there are several steep switchbacks - long descends that lead right back into long steep climbs, making this a strenuous hike at points. Just before reaching the fire tower, the trail winds back and forth in a series of the longest switchbacks for the final climb to the top. Finally, the trees open and you are rewarded with breathtaking views in all directions. This hike makes for a great overnight trip; staying the night in the tower offers amazing views of the stars right from your sleeping bag. Catch the morning's first light peeking over the distant ridge line painting the surrounding hills with an orange glow - it is sure to be a morning you won't soon forget.

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  • Tom on

    One of my favorite adventures! So thankful I can relive it through this post.

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