Wayah Bald (5,342') sits atop the high Wayah Crest which separates The Little Tennessee and Nantahala Valley's in western North Carolina. Wayah Bald is home to a beautiful old fire lookout tower that provides commanding views in (almost) every direction. The tower is the second to sit atop the summit, which has long been a local tourist destination as well. The present tower was opened in 1937 and was originally three stories tall. After only a little over a decade of service the tower was abandoned and the top two stories were removed for safety reasons. Luckily for visitors, in 1983 the USFS completed renovations on the tower, which included a roof, and you can once again enjoy the views as people have been doing there for generations.
The day was rather dreary (not at all conducive for mountain top photography), so I stopped by nearby Rufus Morgan Falls on the return trip to enjoy some of the colors still holding on in the valley's...
Hike Length: 0.5 miles Hike Duration: 0:30
Trailhead Temp: 50'F
Min. Elevation: 5,180' Max. Elevation: 5,342'
Total Vertical Gain: 138' Avg. Elevation Gain / Mile: 276'
Rufus Morgan Falls
Hike Length: 1.0 miles Hike Duration: 0:45
Trailhead Temp: 60'F
Min. Elevation: 3,200' Max. Elevation: 3,500'
Total Vertical Gain: 310' Avg. Elevation Gain / Mile: 310'