For my birthday this year, Remington and I went on a birthday hike up to Frying Pan Lookout Tower in Pisgah National Forest. We had plans in the evening, so we were looking for a fairly easy hike that was nearby and had good views. Growing up in New Hampshire there were an abundance of fire-tower trails. I love hiking the trails because the fire road leading up the tower is usually a casual hike with little to no steep sections. The towers also guarantee a vast view so that the watchman can properly survey the land.
Frying Pan Lookout Tower is located off of the Blue Ridge Parkway between mile posts 409 and 410. You will see Forest Service Road 450 and you will want to park at its pull-out, making sure not to block the gate. The tower is a lesser known destination off of the parkway, so you won’t see a huge group of cars lining the road when you arrive. It was a hot, summer day in August when we hiked to the tower, and there were only a couple of cars parked at the pull-out; everyone else was down in the valley near a body of water leaving us to enjoy the cool mountain breeze.
From the parkway, you hike Forest Service Road 450 all the way up to the tower; about three-quarters of a mile. If you are hiking in the summer, then colorful wildflowers will be lining the entire road. In the autumn, the leaves are sure to be equally as colorful. At the top of the road you can see beautiful views of the Blue Ridge mountains even without climbing up the tower, but it is worth the climb. I will admit, the steel tower looks a bit sketchy, but it is a sturdy structure. At the top of the stairs you are rewarded with a spectacular 360-degrees view of the mountains.
Frying Pan Lookout Tower was everything we were looking for as my birthday hike. It was a serene trail with very few other people, it was easily accessible from Greenville, and it was topped off with a perfect view. The hike up to Frying Pan Lookout Tower will definitely become one of our go-to hikes.