Pinnacle Mountain Fire Tower Trail

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Cherokee National Forest

Pinnacle Mountain Fire Tower Trail is a 9.1 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Unicoi, Tennessee that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, running, and mountain biking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Length9.1 miElevation gain1,863 ftRoute typeOut & back
dog friendlyHikingMountain bikingWalkingrunningForestViewsWildlife
Description
Waypoints (0)
Getting There

This is a fairly new trail that is well maintained. The views from the tower are awesome. The trail traffic is heavy on weekends.

From I-26E, take exit #32, take a right at the bottom of the exit ramp. Almost immediately you will come to a stop sign. Turn right and you will see a parking area. The trail begins a short distance in the woods.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (299)
Photos (419)
Recordings (242)
Completed (614)
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Margaret Westbrook
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Hiking

Well maintained and marked trail. A little soggy and icy in a few places today but doable with trekking poles. Gradual up with switchbacks. We took the steeper road up after the upper parking lot and it was quite steep but 0.5 mi shorter. Nice view at the top and along trail in winter. Road noise early in hike but past creek crossing gets to be a nice walk in the woods. You do share the trail with mountain bikes and it is narrow so stay alert.

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Shawn Dodge
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Hiking

Awesome. Well marked trail!

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Steven Wilson
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Hiking
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Randy Hewitt
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Hiking
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jason goins
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HikingScramble

good for a 1/2 day hike some parts make you work but good go to close to home

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Cindy Chambers
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Hiking

Good trail for running

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Allison Battle
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Hiking

Took the shorter steeper road from the upper parking lot

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Allison Battle
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Hiking

Took the gravel road to the parking lot to avoid 7 extra miles of hiking. This loop is about 2.2 miles. The 20 minute drive on a gravel single lane road won’t be for everyone, but it was pretty well maintained. The first leg of this recording is much steeper and the second half is longer and more gradual. The fire tower has amazing views but it is a bit scary to climb up. Anyone with fears of heights will be challenged.

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Amy Blumberg
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Hiking
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Patrick Callahan
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Hiking

Great local trail that is great for a lone hiker, a group, or the family. There is a small stream about a mile in that crosses the trail for a pet to grab a drink from. There are plenty of gradual up and downs that make the trail enjoyable. Switchbacks also make the accent better. Once you get to the road crossing and parking lot, keep going straight unless you want to shortcut your hike. Firetower is metal with steep steps and is easy to climb to the top where amazing views await.

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Oatmeal Ridgewalker
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HikingGreat!

Be careful of what you plug into google maps to find the trailhead. We ended up following directions that sent us car climbing to near the top of Pinnacle mountain instead of the base. A couple miles on a pot holed, gravel road. Wouldn't be a problem in a two wheeled sedan (we had a 4x4). A little rough in places. It led for an interesting way of doing the hike...started high and went down to the bottom and returned up. Gave a chance to stop at the car to swap out some gear and finished the last bit up to the Tower. Also, beware, taking the trail up to this parking area...the natural thought would be to take the obvious fire road to the Tower, to your left. The actual trail goes straight thru this parking area, dropping you down briefly and looping you around to the Tower. It's a much better and prettier way to do the final bit.

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Oatmeal Ridgewalker
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Hiking
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Crysta Kori
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Hiking

I walked my dog thinking he would be able to come to the top of the tower with me. When we arrived the steps were too steep for him. Also the map showed streams for him to drink from along the way but there is only one in the first mile. Would recommend this trail for runners, bikers and people who aren't afraid of heights. The flooring of the top of the tower is see through.

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Susan Epps
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Hiking

What a great trail! Would definitely do this again. Well maintained, switchbacks make the climb easier. Nice views from lots of places along the trail.

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Brad DeWeese
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Hiking

Very nice trail, consistently marked. Leaves are down but still an easy overall trek. Highly recommend when time permits.

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Jason Renfro
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Hiking

Nice gradual climb with a solid reward at the end.

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Amy Vogrig
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Hiking

Well maintained wide trail! Excellent hike

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Austin Miller
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Hiking

Amazing trail. It had plenty of views, awesome birding spots, including several different types of warblers. Along the way, I heard all kinds of owls as well. One thing I would change is to restrict the walking of dogs on the trail. They interrupted and scared a bird I was trying to locate and identify. Other than that, a GREAT hike.

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Charles Higges
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Hiking

It is one the nicest trails clean and easy to follow. Really great forest scenes. To bad the whole trail isn’t up because coming down isn’t nearly as nice.

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Connie Reaves
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HikingGreat!

The trail is very well maintained and the long hike is definitely worth the gorgeous panoramic view of the mountains from the top of the fire tower. I would highly recommend this day hike.

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Stacey McKenzie
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Hiking

Good

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Chad Mabe
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Hiking
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Jeffrey Voudrie
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Hiking
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Timothy Smith
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Hiking

Not difficult at all, just long. Stunning view at the top.

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Rachel Stiltner
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Hiking

Hadn’t hiked in a while so it was tough, but worth it. Stellar views.

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Nikki Ball
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Hiking
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Steven Ramsey
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Hiking

Tree down

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John Ripley
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HikingGreat!

Great trail for exercise. You get a great view on top of the tower then it’s 99% down hill back to your vehicle. Hiked up then jogged down took just under 2 hours.

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Steven Ramsey
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Mountain biking

Make sure you don’t take a shortcut. Ended up lost for a bit.

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Cycling Jon
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Really enjoyed this hike. The trail is a gradual grade and easy on the feet due to its relative smoothness. The view from the tower is awesome. If you want to save a mile going up and a mile going down, take the service road to the tower. The trail intersects the road just past the 3 mile marker. The road is shown as a dotted line on the map.

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