Cowee Bald Lookout
US 71, NC 3
September 2020 photo

September 2020 photo - courtesy of Christopher Armenti

Lookout Details

Registry Numbers US 71, NC 3 (view other lookouts in United States, North Carolina)
Date Registered December 30, 1993
Nominated by Joe Nicholson, Wayah R.D.
Location Nantahala National Forest
Jackson County, North Carolina
Coordinates N 35° 19.584' W 083° 20.093' (view using Google Maps)
N 35° 19' 35" W 083° 20' 06"
N 35.326405° W 083.334877°
Elevation 4,892 ft (1,491 m)
Administered by U.S. Forest Service
Cooperators Wayah Ranger District


Also located within the Nantahala National Forest is Cowee Bald Lookout, whose view includes much of the southern flank of the Great Smoky Mountains. Built in 1936, the 40’ steel tower with 14x14’ live-in cab with catwalk, was rebuilt in 1980. Although not staffed on a regular basis since the 1960s, the lookout is used jointly by the NC Forest Service and the U.S. Forest Service on an emergency basis.


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Visit Reports

September 4, 2020: Christopher Armenti


Needs paint? No
Shutters OK? Yes
Condition of wood OK? Yes
Stairs OK? Yes
Glass intact? Yes
Good condition? Yes
Comments: The tower was in excellent condition as was the access road.

Electronics and Enroachments

Are electronic sites enroaching on tower? No
Comments: There are cell towers but they are a good distance away and only infringe on the view in one direction. In the attached picture, the side of the tower in the photo, is the one facing the cell towers.

Access and Signs

NHLR sign posted? No
Directions to tower signed? No
Comments? I didn't notice any signage on this tower and I didn't go to the far side of the building to see if it was marked for RF or high voltage


Staffed? No

Opportunities for Volunteer Support

Volunteers staffing opportunities? No
Volunteer maintenance opportunities? No