Pinnacle Mountain Fire Tower

The Pinnacle Mountain Fire Tower is located atop Buffalo Mountain at 3,520 feet above sea level and has served as a sentinel for the area’s forest lands for the past 75–years.  A hiking and bicycling trail has been established from this trailhead.  You can also enjoy seeing the historic tower from along I–26, as well as from other vista points in Limestone Cove, Unicoi and Erwin.

The tower stands sentry over “The Valley Beautiful,” conspicuous along a ten-mile stretch of Interstate 26 between Erwin and Johnson City, and visible from various locations in Johnson City, Limestone Cove, Unicoi and from TN 81 near the Nolichucky River. The fire tower is one of only four remaining in Cherokee National Forest.

In 2011Pinnacle Fire Tower was adapted from a wood and metal structure to an all-metal covered viewing platform. The structure utilized the 40-foot tower structure and replaced the cab with a covered platform the same size, shape and configuration as the old catwalk and cab.

The platform offers views of the region’s highest peaks, including Unaka Mountain, Roan Mountain and Mt. Mitchell in North Carolina, as well as views into the towns of Johnson City, Unicoi and Erwin.

The 5.9 hike/bike Pinnacle Mountain Trail serves as a destination trail to the rehabilitated fire tower. The trailhead, at the foot of Buffalo Mountain and Pinnacle Mountain Fire Tower, will provide convenient trail access from Interstate 26, Exit 32 in the town of Unicoi. From this trailhead vantage point, Pinnacle Mountain Trail will travel .4-miles on town property before entering national forest lands.

Pinnacle Mountain Fire Tower


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