Wayah Bald Lookout Tower
Wayah Bald Lookout Tower
4.5

Top ways to experience nearby attractions

Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

4.5
306 reviews
Excellent
240
Very good
51
Average
12
Poor
0
Terrible
3

pianohiker
Sarasota, FL59 contributions
It's February 2021, cold, wet, some snow and not very crowded on the Trails up here in the Nantahala Forest and Great Smoky Mountains. Which is exactly why we rented a cabin for the month in the Cowee Valley 10 miles north of Franklin. Beautiful in the winter. You can really see the "bones" of the mountains without all the greenery. So having been up to Wayah Bald in the summer, we were anxious to see the fabulous views in the winter. Surprise! Before we could get on the road that climbs 8 miles up to Wayah Bald, there was a gate closing the road off. BUT we saw a couple cars just parked on the side and then the sign "Appalachian Trail Georgia to Maine" with arrows left and right. Wow a chance to walk a bit of the AT in the footsteps of so many other (braver!) hikers. So we chose the 'To Maine" trailhead which was up toward Wayah Bald, and did 1 mile in, turned and 1 mile out. Easy walk, too cloudy to see all the mountains, but the magic of the AT sufficed. Great fun.
Written February 15, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Michael K
Smyrna, GA559 contributions
We drove up and it was foggy, rainy and windy, but after waiting about ten minutes the clouds cleared up a bit and the view was amazing. The pictures, as usual, don't do it full justice. Its a panoramic view of mountains all around.

Both the Appalachian trail and the Bartram Trail take you up to this point and it is believed Bartram came up here during his travels in the 18th century.
Written May 26, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

journalmytrips
Georgia629 contributions
Directions to this site can be confusing even when copying directions and using a GPS. But with perseverance we found our way. The paved road to Wayah Bald has many twists and turns and you wonder when you will find Forest Service Rd.69 when suddenly you see the sign. The road is hard packed but bumpy so take your time for it is a seemingly long 4 1/2 mile drive. At the top, there is a large parking area, picnic tables and toilets.
The walk to the tower is paved and not too steep. I would like to say that we visited on a beautiful day but it was misty though what we did see was worth the effort. The tower is not too high and if you decide against climbing the stairs the view is still good from the lower level.
Written November 6, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

JAH
Atlanta, GA38 contributions
Family
Forest Service Road was closed January 19, 2020! We drove all the way there on Wayah Rd and the forest service gate was closed and locked at the top of the mountain where you turn to drive up Forest Service Road. We decided we didn’t want to hike the 5 miles to the top. We were very disappointed!
Written January 20, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

hlew123
Atlanta, GA233 contributions
At 5500 feet the views are endless. After a 10 minute drive to the lookout, walk about 5 minutes to the top.
This is one of the highest points in the area. Make sure to plan your trip on a sunny day, as there is often a very heavy cloud cover
Written August 13, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Jaquie C
2 contributions
Friends
Stunning. I didn’t want to like it, but I think I saw God. There are so many mountains! Also the road was lined with the precious little cabins that I’m sure were full of happy vampire families or children-eating witches. Enchanting! Beautiful views all around.
Written August 28, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

NCEmie
Hickory, NC156 contributions
This was a spur of the moment trip up the mountain. And yes, it is quite a drive up a dirt road to get there. It was a well maintained road and easy to drive. The wildflowers were beautiful all along the route. It was not the ideal weather day, but the view was still breathtaking! I would love to go again on a clear day in the Fall. I imagine how spectacular it could be!
Written July 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

KPS34997
Stuart, FL7 contributions
Trust your map (or GPS)! Despite the sense that you've left civilization, will run out of gas and never be found, you're on the right road. The view from the Bald is worth all of the questions from the back seat. ("Really? You're sure this leads to the Tower? I think we're Lost!") You're rewarded with a magnificent view of the NC Smoky Mountains at the intersection of the Appalachian and Bertram trails. If you're a pilot you have a great view of Macon County Airport 1A5 in the distance. It's all off the usual tourist track, and absolutely worth the time!
Written October 3, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

WB2OBX
Southport, NC8 contributions
Solo
Beautiful drive up to the tower. Add driving time into your visit, as it took us a good 15 minutes each way on the rd to the tower. Plan ahead if you do not like to drive in the dark. You will see people parked at the trailhead which is paved and a short walk tower. If you keep driving up to the right there is a turnaround with an ok view if you can not walk to the tower and bathrooms with a larger parking area. Like many have said it is a narrow winding dirt rd up to the parking area so be mindful of drivers coming the other way. We did not have service on the way up so make sure you have written directions or a map in case gps doesn't work. the Ranger Lick station is worth the stop on the way up or down. It has a neat history and pretty scenery.The tower itself has some very interesting history as does the entire Wayah Rd area. There are some informational signs on the walk to the tower. It is best to go on a clear day, but we did not and it was still a beautiful spot. The pictures turned out great. On the drive back down we saw a mama bear and her cubs cross the rd. I recommend this stop if you are in the area.
Written November 7, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

policescanner1
Franklin, NC51 contributions
Family
Wayah Bald standing at 5,342 feet in elevation in the Nantahala National Forest use to be a Fire Lookout Tower for the Forest Service for many years. But now it is open except from January - April due to icy roads and possible snow. When planning a trip be sure to allow several hours. The Drive to the top of the mountain is about 8 miles long around a very narrow and extremely winding 2 lane road. Then 5 miles on a gravel and dirt road that is no less winding. So if you get the least bit motion sick be sure to pack something. Also be sure to have plenty of Water and snacks for there is no restaurants or places to find anything until you arrive back in Franklin. Once you arrive at the parking area you have short paved trail up to the tower. The tower has undergone some much needed renovations. The stone tower is 53 foot tall so use caution when climbing the stone stairs if there is any moisture on them it will make them very slick. There are many education markers to give you the history and other information. Sit back and take in the breath taking views. On a clear day you can see Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee. There are restrooms near the walking path to the tower but FYI bring some TP and hand wipes cause they run out fast. Also keep an eye out for Hikers who are hiking the Appalachian and Bartram Trails that cross the bald at the tower. Another thing to keep an eye out for is Wildlife. Beware of bears , snakes ect. it is the wilderness after all. This is an amazing day trip. Don't forget your camera and a light jacket as it may be somewhat cooler at the top and the weather changes at the drop of a hat !
Written August 16, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Showing results 1-10 of 306
Anything missing or inaccurate?
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing

Wayah Bald Lookout Tower (Franklin) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

Frequently Asked Questions about Wayah Bald Lookout Tower