Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Shuckstack Lookout Tower via Appalachian Trail

This 7.2-mile out-and-back on the Appalachian Trail visits the Shuckstack Mountain lookout tower for unrivaled views.
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Follow the Appalachian Trail 3.6 miles north from Fontana Dam to Shuckstack fire tower, a 1930s lookout with views across the entire park.

PERMIT: Overnight camping in Great Smoky Mountains National Park requires a backcountry permit. Check out the latest fees and more details at

MORE INFO: Great Smoky Mountains National Park, (307) 344-7381;

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 11.6



Location: 35.453696, -83.809156

Parking area with picnic table. Views of Fontana Dam to the southeast. Hike northwest.


Location: 35.454666, -83.810448

The route follow the road for the next half mile.


Location: 35.460635, -83.81135

Bear left onto the Appalachian Trail where Lake Shore Trail continues straight.


Location: 35.480749, -83.807745

Tiny stream crossing


Location: 35.483452, -83.81472

AT traverses a hillside with valley views to the southwest; rock slab terrain.


Location: 35.485035, -83.816368

Bear right at this junction and follow the trail leading to Shuckstack Mountain. The AT continues on to the left toward Sassafras Gap.


Location: 35.485484, -83.815126

Shuckstack Mountain: This 4,020-foot summit is marked by a 60-foot fire tower, built in the 1930's. Follow the same route back to the trailhead.

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