July 14, 2018
Chambers Mountain tower has one of the most unique views in Western North Carolina; one can view the Plott Balsams, the Smoky’s, Maggie Valley and the Shining Rock peaks. Centered right beside I-40, one would think 1) it’s easy to find and 2) it’s an easy hike. Both would be incorrect assumptions.
The hardest part is how to find the trailhead. I plugged “Chamber Mountain Road Clyde, NC” into my GPS and thought it would lead me right there. Once you reach Clyde, you turn onto Charles Street, then turn left onto Hyder Mountain Road. Shortly past an old school, turn right onto Chambers Mountain Road. You’ll pass over I-40 on a bridge and proceed uphill. Soon there will be a faded sign for the Lookout Tower. Immediately turn left onto Lookout Point, a gravel, one-lane road that goes sharply uphill. Don’t be worried, the road is in good shape, apart from some washpan. After 3/4 mile to a mile you’ll come to a gate (pictured below). Park to the side, so that you don’t get towed.
Once on the road, the hike is somewhat steep. For 1.9 miles, it is steadily a 10% grade, often straight up the mountain. Halfway up, there are some gorgeous views of the surrounding area, fields full of wildflowers, and numerous cellular/radio towers.
The tower itself is a 60 ft. steel structure, that engenders a slight vintage feel. Next to the tower is a cabin for the caretaker. From a field report I read; Orvale Banks inhabited the tower and cabin for many years, serving as lookout in season. Unfortunately, he passed away last year. His wood for winter still filled the front porch, the dog lot starting to grow over slightly. As I stood on the summit, it’s hard not to think that this would be a wonderful place to call home.
Total mileage is 3.8 miles.