Listed on the U.S. National Registry of Historic Places, Fryingpan Mountain Lookout Tower is about a 22-mile drive south from Asheville.
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The Fryingpan Mountain Lookout Trail is a popular 1.5-mile trek, listed as moderate. It starts steeply by climbing five flights of stairs. Located near Mount Pisgah in Pisgah National Forest, the tower views are supposedly better here than from the top of Mount Pisgah itself, which is just 2.5 miles north. The climb to reach the tower can be a challenge for those fearful of heights. The stairs can also be an obstacle for dogs to descend the steep course. Looking Glass Rock and the famous Cold Mountain peak are south of the tower, just five miles away. The deck of the structure remains locked to prevent vandalism and overnight visitors.
The mountain itself rises 5,340 feet above sea level. Though the historic steel fire tower itself is locked, the views are incredible, with stunning landscapes of gorgeous wildflowers and mountainous fir trees.
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The United States Forest Service built the Fryingpan Mountain Lookout Tower in 1941 as a lookout building for fires. Though decommissioned in the 1990s, visitors can still view the structure and enjoy the magnificent overlook.
Named for Fryingpan Gap by pioneers, the lookout is a must-see destination along the Blue Ridge Parkway, this 70-foot tower provides spectacular views of the forests, wildlife, and surrounding lakes.
The road leading up the tower has a gate that remains locked. Hikers should walk around the gate up the gravel road to the summit. Be aware this section of the parkway is closed during much of the snowy winter months, so the best time to visit is from April to October. The weather is usually chilly near the peak so pack appropriately.