“A well-groomed climbing trail with spectacular 360 degree views at the top.
— Marc Upton
No Horses or Motorized Vehicles allowed.
The Pinnacle Mountain Tower Trail takes you to the highest point in Washington County, TN. The trailhead is right off exit 32 on I-26 at Jack Snider Park where you'll find newly built restrooms/changing area. The trail was completed in 2011 with a backhoe and has narrowed nicely to a trail that is wider than singletrack, but not quite as wide as doubletrack in most places.
The trail averages about a 7% grade with a good amount of grade reversals as the climb takes you through mostly covered forest until you approach the summit. Just beyond the 3 mile mark you'll cross a Forest Service Road and ATV Trail. This is the only trail intersection you'll come across during your ascent. Continue straight across this road to stay on the trail. Shortly after this crossing, the trail turns slightly downhill briefly before the climb to the top resumes.
Once at the summit, you'll have the opportunity to climb the observation tower and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding Unaka Mountains as well as the towns of Erwin and Unicoi. On a clear day, you can see into both North Carolina and Virginia.
The descent back down the trail is very fast with some nice banked turns and long straight sections. However, there are a few off camber switchbacks that can sneak up on you if you are flying. Also, this trail sees a lot of hiker/trail runner use on the weekends. To avoid the majority of the foot traffic, try to ride on the weekdays or early morning on the weekend. Assuming no stopping, advanced riders will want to allow a little over an hour to complete the trail out and back. Beginner and intermediate level riders should allow an hour and half to two hours to complete.