Bays Mountain Park Hike to the Fire Tower… All for the Majestic View

Bays Mountain Park Hike to the Fire Tower… All for the Majestic View

Catch a glimpse of the Holston River from the fire tower bordering Bays Mountain State Park
A panoramic view of the Holston River from the Bays Mountain State Park fire tower.

Bays Mountain State Park Full of Activities

For $3 per car, a trip to Bays Mountain State Park in Kingsport, Tennessee is an inexpensive way to enjoy a day. First of all, wear good hiking shoes, bring some water, a camera and finally make sure you have enough time to hike and rest. Furthermore, this is entirely doable, even for those who have  slight disabilities.

I’m nearly recovered after foot surgery from more than two years ago. And the ankles still get stiff , both they and the feet ache easily. In addition, if you take your time and rest when you need to, the hike to and from the fire tower is doable. However, don’t arrive too late in the day, or like us you end up the last ones to leave after 8:00 pm when the park closes.

This isn't actually a window at the top of the Bays Mountain State Park fire tower.
Open window at the top… a view of from the top of the fire tower next to Bays Mountain State Park.

Picturesque Scenery From Bays Mountain State Park

The Bay’s Mountain State Park scenery is some of the most beautiful. And it’s much cooler in the woods on a hot summer day. Furthermore, the greenery is lush and its peaceful hiking in the woods.

Strolling around the park is fun too. There are wolves, bobcats and birds to view in their habitats. In addition, kids love trying to get the animals to come up closer or to ‘talk’ with them. Make sure you have a pocket or something to carry your cell phone in, but don’t overdo carrying stuff around. Carrying extra stuff in the heat is tiring.

Hike to the Civilian conservation Corps 1927 Fire Tower

First of all, the round trip hike to the old 1937 fire tower and back is 3.28 miles, if I figured it correctly from the map. Additionally, the wooden tower built by the Civilian Conservation Corps stands 60 feet high. The steps are almost entirely straight up and the first flight additionally sways. So, there are several flights of steps leading up to the platform observation point at the top of the tower.

The smokey blue view of the scenic Smokey from the Bays Mountain State Park in Kingsport really is a standout.
A smokey blue view of the Smokey Mountains from the fire tower bordering Bays Mountain State Park. This is why they call these the Smokey Mountains.
Watch out for fallen tree limbs when hiking the paths around Bays Mountain State Park.
On a hiking path In Bays Mountain State Park, leading the way to the fire tower.

The view from the top is impressive. We could even make out the Walgreen’s all the way over in the Allandale part of Kingsport, Tennessee. It might be hard to make the hike in the winter in snow, but it’s doable the rest of the year.

The fire tower actually lies outside of Bays Mountain Park, yet it’s accessible, starting  with Fern Trail  which meanders through the woods. The path is steep and rocky, so be careful. Take your time and don’t forget to rest as needed along the way.

Fern Trail and Lake Road Lead Through the Park

From Fern Trail you turn on  Lake Road, which is a gravel road that also cuts through the woods. It’s a wider path, but it is still steep. Fire Tower trail is last and it actually is the steepest and rockiest part of the hike. On the way to the tower the trip is mostly uphill while on the way back its downhill.

Dinky figures of family below wave to us at the top of the fire tower on a trip to Bays Mountain State Park.
Check out the wilderness view from the top of the fire tower on a trip to Bays Mountain state Park.

You feel like you’re in the wilderness, out in the middle of nowhere. Yet you’re quite near civilization. One good thing about going in the latter part of the day after dusk is you get the chance to howl at the wolves… and they’ll actually howl back at you. Their howls are quite melodic. It was a treat to get to chat with them, even briefly.

You really feel the wilderness when the darkness descends upon Bays Mountain. Yet you’re minutes away by car from hotels and the rest of civilization. A day at Bays Mountain State Park is truly worth it. It’s definitely in the budget. Where else can you go for $3 for a whole carload of family and friends?


Trease L Carpenter

Trease is a freelance writer, who hangs her hat in Kingsport, TN. Her writing niche covers local events, food and travel-related articles. Travel, lifestyle and community show the story. If you want rich content with the real story, Trease is your writer/storyteller/photographer. Check out her other Southern Fried blogs. Trease also wrote the Thursday edition of the "Across the Fence" column for the Kingsport Times-News from May 10, 2010 - August 28, 2015. She is big on local tourism and anything related to travel... including all things local like the food, eateries, shops and events. So, go for the local historic flavoring, along with the varied lodging and the picture-perfect scenery . Trease also writes on writing... wordsmith crafting on another blog. Southern Fried Travel, Southern Fried tlc and the Southern Fried Scribe blogs showcase Trease's writing. So head on over and check out all the cool stuff.
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