Wauchecha Bald Fire Tower
US 1298, NC 26
March 2019 photo

March 2019 photo - courtesy of Victoria Oliver

Lookout Details

Registry Numbers US 1298, NC 26 (view other lookouts in United States, North Carolina)
Date Registered March 17, 2019
Nominated by Victoria Oliver
Location Nantahala National Forest
Graham County, North Carolina
Coordinates N 35° 23.181' W 083° 46.354' (view using Google Maps)
N 35° 23' 11" W 083° 46' 21"
N 35.386355° W 083.772559°
Elevation 4,380 ft (1,335 m)
Built between 1933-1942
Administered by U.S. Forest Service


Wauchecha Bald Fire Tower is an Aermotor live-in-cab tower of a style purchased primarily by the U.S. Forest Service. It is approximately 35 feet tall with a 13’x13’ cab and catwalk. It has all-metal construction, with storm shutters, and a pyramid hip roof with standing-seam metal roofing. The bottom steps have been removed, and all glass is broken or missing. Shutters have been torn off, but are mostly stacked inside the cab.

The tower was built by the CCC between 1933-1942. The Appalachian Trail used to pass beside it before being rerouted west of the tower.

According to a local historian and retired watchman, The Wachacha Bald (note difference in spelling) is said to have been named for a Cherokee man by the name of Jack Wachacha who lived in a small cabin on the level flat before the steep climb to the tower. Wachacha is said to mean grasshopper in the Cherokee language. People spoke of seeing him there in 1913. He had a garden fenced in with a rail fence head high to keep free ranging livestock out. Wachacha Bald had a much larger open grassy area in those days and people would herd their sheep there in the summer, according to local history.


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