The North Carolina mountains are dotted with several historic fire towers once inhabited by lone watchmen scouting for a trail of smoke above the trees. Today, modern technology has replaced the human aspect, but several fire towers still stand high above the Blue Ridge Mountains overlooking a vast expanse of wilderness. While many are accessible and some still safe to climb, you might be hiking a burly 5.5-miles to reach some or encountering switchbacks and hairpin trails. For an easier hike that leads to a historic fire tower and breathtaking views, try Fryingpan Mountain Lookout Tower.

How neat is this? You never know what you’ll find in the Blue Ridge. Have you hiked here before or any other lookout towers in the mountains?

Speaking of what’s hiding in the Blue Ridge, here are some of the 15 best-kept secrets of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

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