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Cullowhee, North Carolina

Hike to Yellow Mountain Fire Tower via Cloud Catcher Lane

1.5 Miles Total - 700 ft gain - Out-and-Back Trail

Originally added by Caleb Adcock

Some might call it heaven on earth and honestly I would too.

Yellow Mountain Fire Tower features some of the best views, looking out over both the Northern Georgia mountains as well as seeing the flat-lands of South Carolina past the mountain ranges. This hike is pretty well known for its 12-mile round trip trek, starting in Cashiers, NC, however, there's a faster way to get there if you're looking for something a little shorter.

Following the location listed for this hike (199 Cloud Catcher Lane) you will find yourself on a gravel driveway (this drive is pretty narrow, up-hill and has some bigger rocks in the middle -- I would recommend taking a vehicle that can accommodate). Once on Cloud Catcher Ln, you will go about .75 miles to a dead end in the woods, with a small area to park/turn around. Neighboring private properties are also close by so please respect the "No Trespassing" signs posted on their properties. The trail starts from the small parking area, marked by a small US Forest Service sign, detailing the Yellow Mountain Trail. 

The trail climbs out of the gap, using switchbacks and some rocky terrain as you make your way to the top. The trail is well maintained and while it is not marked by blazes and with very few signs, it is very obvious where the trail leads. About .1 miles from the top, the trail will intersect with the other trail coming from Cashiers. There are signs at this intersection that show which way to continue. 

This is an awesome spot to go and relax for the afternoon, catch the sunset/sunrise, snap a few pics or even spend the night. You can't beat the views and awesome hike to get there. 


Pack out what you pack in!!! People have begun piling up trash in the room under the tower which eventually will get blown out and into the woods. Take care of this place so others can enjoy too!

Stay on the trail! There are several sections where people have made shortcuts and cut corners. It's an awesome trail so lets use it and not destroy other parts of the beauty around! 

There's a good chance it's going to be windy, you're exposed on top of a mountain! Make sure you have the proper clothes if the weather were to change quickly. 

Let someone know where you're going before you head out! It's not a long hike, but something could always go wrong! (There was Verizon service along many parts of the trail, but could be limited, depending upon your provider)

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Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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