Although difficult, Pinnacle Fire Tower Trail is worth the hike

Published 11:38 pm Thursday, June 2, 2022

Located in Erwin, the Pinnacle Fire Tower Trail is an extremely popular trail that many enjoy visiting. The trail is open to hikers, runners, and mountain bikers.

The trail is an “out and back” style trail. At the beginning of the trail, there is a gravel road that leads to the last two miles of the trail, traveling upward, limiting the distance of the hike.

In total, however, the trail is 9.7 miles with an elevation gain of 1,942 feet. For most hikers, the trail takes four and a half hours to complete.

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The time can vary depending on whether the person is hiking or biking. It is not uncommon to pass a mountain biker on this trail, which means it’s key for the hiker to understand bikers have the right of way.

“As a biker, it’s always pleasant when I don’t have to slam on my breaks. I enjoy that people understand the unspoken rule,” said mountain-biker Jim Trent.

The trail is heavily marked with green diamonds and mile markers. There are multiple short-cut paths but hikers are advised to avoid them, whereas those trails damage the surrounding wildlife.

The trail, however, has a gradual incline that makes the trail more accessible. Regardless, the trail is marked as moderate to difficult and is not wheelchair accessible.

Dogs and children however are welcomed. The trail traverses through small creeks and dense forest but the difficult trail is worth the hike.

At the top of the trail holds the Pinnacle Fire Tower, which is open to the public. The steep metal stairs can be slippery or icy depending on the weather, and caution is advised.

The fire tower has a 360-degree view of the surrounding mountain ranges. From the fire tower, one can see both Johnson City and Unicoi County.

“It’s a beautiful view, regardless of the time of day. I love watching the sunrise though,” said Jade Russell.

The trail, regardless of its difficulties, provides a beautiful journey and view.