Saturday, August 9, 2008

Holston Fire Tower

High atop Holston Mountain (elev. 4,000 feet) stands an imposing 100 foot tower, constructed in 1943. Back in the day when the forest service operated a network of these mountaintop lookouts, this tower had a 12x12 live-in cab at the top. It was removed after the tower ceased being used in 1991. In case you're wondering -- a privy and shower were located at the base of the tower. (!)

It used to be possible to climb the winding steel stairs to the top. But time has taken its toll on the structure and rendered it dangerous and unsafe. It is now fenced off with barbed wire at the top and bottom. Don't try to climb the tower. Hopefully they will someday rehab the tower like the one on Pinnacle Mountain so people can once again take in the beautiful views of Holston Lake and Bristol.

Hiking Bill's post on the tower here.

Directions: From Elizabethton, TN take Route 91 (Stoney Creek) east for 10 miles, turn left on Panhandle Road and reset your odometer. At 1 mile you'll pass by the parking area for the Blue Hole on your left. At 1.4 miles you'll come to a gate that is typically closed in the winter months. (I'm told there's a trail leading from here to the top, but have not investigated that for myself. If there is, it's probably a steep, four mile trail from this point to the fire tower.) At 4.4 miles, the road splits. To your right is the gated road leading to the tower -- park here. The tower is one mile further up the road on foot - it's a fairly easy grade to the top. Click here for a map of the area.

Other area fire tower hikes:
[post updated 5/2016]


  1. Hello Mark,
    I am Ryan Rice, and I see that you found my site. I just recently started up the site and am trying to get others involved so I have get a lot more data on there. I have always wanted to create a one stop place on the web for a library of places of interest in Northeast Tennessee area.

    Also, I work with Peter Thomas and Corbin Greary (I believe you know both from Milligan) at Saratoga.

    P.S. I am a big fan of your photography.

  2. Hi Ryan, Great website! I'll include it in my links/resources section. Tell Peter and Corbin Hi for me! Thanks for visiting!

  3. Hey. Just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your site. It's obvious you put a lot of work into it, and I can't tell you how many times I've used this over the years.


  5. When I went back in 2013, a few consecutive steps were missing on the fire tower. I'm not sure if they've been replaced, but everyone please be careful!


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