August 11, 2018
Most fire towers in the Lookout Tower Challenge are located in the western most portion of North Carolina. The one outlier is Moore’s Knob Tower, just outside Winston Salem, Mt. Airy and Greensboro in Hanging Rock State Park.
What was once a fire tower that was destroyed by a fire years ago is now a fine stone observation tower. There are two options for hiking to the tower, park at the lake and hike the Moore’s Knob Loop Trail up to the tower and back (3.8 miles) or hike the entire loop (4.5 miles). As I started the hike it was nice and sunny, but about a mile in, the sky darkened and it starting raining buckets. I quickly put on my rain suit. Since there was no lightening, it made for quite a nice hike. Apparently, I was the only person in the park that thought of bringing rain gear. I passed several groups with nothing but soaked clothes. Soon the “trail” turned to a creek rushing down the mountain. I passed one large group, and in particular a woman carrying a baby next to her husband. The baby was getting drenched. I offered to give my jacket to keep the child dry. She seemed willing to take it, but her husband chided me, “we don’t need your help.” Ah, stubbornness and pride.
Soon as I ascended the creek trail and near the top, the rain moved on. I reached the tower and was greeted by a tremendous view to the north and west. I could nearly see Greensboro and Winston-Salem. Some sparse clouds remained below, giving a towering view.
I decided to hike the entire loop. The western portion is very nice with gravel and steps the entire length.
Total mileage is 4.5 miles.