Holston High Knob Lookout
US 251, TN 3

Lookout Details

Registry Numbers US 251, TN 3 (view other lookouts in United States, Tennessee)
Date Registered March 1, 1998
Nominated by Norman Jefferson, Archaeologist, Unaka R.D.
Location Cherokee National Forest
Carter County, Tennessee
Coordinates N 36° 27.446' W 082° 04.636' (view using Google Maps)
N 36° 27' 27" W 082° 04' 38"
N 36.457440° W 082.077267°
Elevation 4,117 ft (1,255 m)
Administered by U.S. Forest Service
Cooperators Unaka Ranger District


The lookout atop Holston High Knob on the Cherokee National Forest in Tennessee near the Virginia state line is a remarkable tower for its location. Located on the southern high knob of Holston Ridge, it offers an extraordinary view from ground level, but has a 100’ steel tower with 12’x 12’ cab with catwalk. Originally located in the flat piney woods of Mississippi, it was moved to Tennessee in 1943, replacing a wooden 60’ tower that had been built nine years earlier and accidentally burned. The lookout was staffed until 1991 and is now used on an emergency basis.


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Visit Reports

June 8, 2004: Robert Edmonds


Needs paint? Yes
Shutters OK? No Response
Condition of wood OK? No Response
Stairs OK? Yes
Glass intact? No Response
Good condition? No Response
Comments: Holston High Knob Tower is one of the South's most unique lookouts due to it's type and location. Sadly, the entire cab has been torn off including all four walls and the roof, exposing the wooden floor to the elements. All interior contents are missing as well, only the plywood floor remains, exposed to the elements. Top of tower is flat now, and has been in this condition for several years. All wooden stair steps have recently been replaced with steel steps, as well as the floor of the old catwalk. A fence was added around the base of the tower, but vandals have torn out one side and the gate at the bottom of the stairs. Vandals have carried large stones to the top of the tower, and dropped them onto the roof of the most recent privy, completely destroying it. The block walls of this privy have holes busted through them by vandals as well. The glass cover and interior workings of the electric power meter which serves the tower(located on a pole at the base) has been smashed by vandals and exposed to the elements, and is making a loud humming noise. Cement identification numbers are still present on ground but need some repair and a complete repaint.

Electronics and Enroachments

Are electronic sites enroaching on tower? No
Other enroachments? 3 large dish antenna's remain on tower, and two more unused dish antenna mounts sit empty.

Access and Signs

NHLR sign posted? No
Directions to tower signed? No
Comments? No NHLR signs are visible anywere on site, or anywhere on the road leading up to the site.


Staffed? No
Lookout was staffed until 1991. Current condition of lookout will not allow for any kind of staffing situation.

Opportunities for Volunteer Support

Volunteers staffing opportunities? Yes
Volunteer maintenance opportunities? Yes
This lookout is very unique, and serves as a landmark to the entire region. Undoubetly there would be interest shown towards volunteer support in regards to maintenance and staffing, if a good program could be initiated.