Panther Top Mountain Fire Lookout Tower, NC

Total Mileage: 1.6 Miles                                                   Directions 35.063273,-84.107906

Total rise: 417′                                                                               Facebook

Hike Time: 1 Hour                                                                         My Pintrest

Weather                                                                                      Hikes by region

Significance: Fire tower, views             The Fire Tower Page


Here is some of what you need to know: It can be tough to get a cell signal in the mountains of North Carolina, I have had better luck with a dedicated GPS unit. Bring your guns, there is a very active shooting range nearby.

1. Scroll the mouse over the altitude line to see where it lines up on the map

2. Click on the flags for more information

3. Click on the pictures to make them large


Many of the North Carolina fire towers that we drove to were hard to find; absolute middle of nowhere with very little to guide you. The road to the Panther Mountain tower differs as it has signs at several intersections guiding you right to where you want to go. The bonus was that it was not far from the town of Murphy meaning hotels and restaurants are nearby. FYI you are only 5 miles from the Georgia state line (the way the crow flies).





The trail is the old access road to the tower; it was easy to follow and without obstacles. I was very impressed at what I saw as we crested the hill and tower came into full view; the summit was was well kept providing one of the best panoramic views of all the NC towers we had visited so far. The structure is in awesome shape and visitors are allowed to climb the steps (not up to the cab).






The three humps- John Ish Hightop









Southern View


You are in the southern end of the massive 530,000 acre Nantahala National Forest. Here the Blue Ridge mountains seem to mellow out and are less imposing than those in the Smokey Mountain region. The view is far and wide; to the south is the great state of Georgia, NW is a cluster of three mountains pictured below is named John Ish High Top, also seen in that area is the giant Hiwassee River



Below is a list of the fire towers we have hiked in North Carolina. There are 24 fire towers in the North Carolina fire tower challenge and traveling to them is a great way to see the mountains in the western part of the state.

Panthertop fire tower           Joanna Bald fire tower

Green Knob fire tower          Cowee Bald fire tower

Barnett Knob fire tower        Clingman’s Dome

Frying Pan fire tower