Look Rock – Hiking in the Smokies

August 28, 2011

Look Rock

Difficulty: Easy – Slightly Moderate

Length: 0.5 miles one way


Look Rock is a short almost completely paved trail trail leading to the Look Rock Fire Tower. This is somewhat easy due to its distance, but does provide for a moderately steep climb along the first half of the trail.


If coming from the Townsend side of the Foothills Parkway, the trail itself is somewhat hard to find. The parking area is located on the left side of the road. Look for the Look Rock sign. This parking area has its own 360 degree view, however, the trail is across the parkway and before the entrance to the park area (again, if coming from the Townsend side of the Parkway).

Look RockLook Rock

The trail then begins winding its way up the hillside for approximately 0.3 miles. This entire section is paved, but a little steep. Once at the top of the hill, the trail makes a sharp left brining hikers next to an air pollution monitoring station.

Look RockLook Rock


The fire tower will be just past this monitoring station. The tower provides a curved concrete walk way up to a platform with 360 degree views of nearly the entire Great Smoky Mountain National Park to the East, and of the Tennessee Valley to the West. Be careful along the tower, especially with children, the walls/railings are barely above knee high, and it would be easy for someone not paying attention to fall over.

Look RockLook Rock

From the platform one can easily see Mt. Leconte, Clingman’s Dome, Andrews Bald, and the valley containing Cades Cove. On the other side Maryville, and on a clear day Knoxville can be seen in the distance.

Look Rock Stitch and watermarkClick the Panorama I made above for  the around the entire tower. To the right over the center is the Tennessee Valley, and to the left the Great Smoky Mountains.



From Townsend:

1.Take Hwy 321 to the Foothills parkway. The entrance to the Foothills Parkway is well marked from Hwy 321.

2. Go 11 miles to Look Rock. There is generally plenty of parking available.

3. The trailhead is before the parking area and across the Parkway.


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2 Responses to Look Rock – Hiking in the Smokies

  1. Cynthia Nettles on May 6, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    What are the closest hiking trails to Look Rock. We want to use Look Rock as a camp base. Please advise. We will be there the week of July 4. Thank you.

  2. robert foster on August 7, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    Love this area. Really great short hike on an easy trail. Beautiful views from the Lock Rock tower.

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