021 – Albert Mountain Fire Tower

Tower Height: 43 Feet

Tower Elevation: 5220 Feet

Upper deck open: No

View: One of the Best!

Hike Route: Bear Pen Trail, FR67 (to upper parking area), AT

Hike Distance: 6.5 Miles RT

Very quickly, the Bear Pen Trail joins the road. For 0.4 of a mile the road climbs alongside Bear Pen Creek. Along the way an orange blazed road comes in from the left. At 0.4 miles from the gate, a trail branches to the right off the logging road. This is the continuation of the Bear Pen Trail. At this point it is now a trail. There are going to be three creek crossings over the next mile, all easily accomplished followed by a steep segment of trail. The trail is blazed blue and easy to follow. Two miles after leaving FR67K, the Bear Pen Trail will come to a grassy road. Cross the road and resume on the Bear Pen Trail for another 0.2 of a mile to FR67. This is the same road you parked on but it would take about the same amount of time to drive here as to hike.

There are a lot of ways to tackle this tower and for my trek, I opted a longer hike since it was a long drive. I began the hike from the Bear Pen Trailhead on FR67 a few miles from Standing Indian Campground. Most of the hike was on the Bear Pen Trail with smaller pieces on FR67K, FR67 and the AT. The parking GPS was 35.04254 -83.50572. While the Bear Pen Trail meets FR67 about a hundred feet from the parking area, you can avoid walking back by starting out on FR67K, heading past the gate. This is directly across from where you can pull off.

I made a left onto FR67 and followed it to the top of the hill and around to the far side of the summit. This leads to the upper parking area, the end of the Hurricane Creek Loop and a gate across the far end of the parking area. This is the trail that connects to the AT. Take this flat trail for about 0.3 of a mile to the white blazed AT and make a right. This section of the AT is rocky and steep when it begins the climb to the top of Albert Mountain. The tower is right on the AT.

From the summit I continued on the AT, heading off the opposite side of the summit toward the Bear Pen Trail. This side of the summit is shorted but it is really rocky and steep. Any savings in distance will be offset by the time it takes to climb down the rocky sections. The AT comes out on FR67 across from the Bear Pen Trail you hiked on the way up. To get back to your car, cross FR67 and take the Bear Pen Trail back to the parking area.

The view from the Albert Mountain Tower is one of the best I have seen so far and the tower climb was among the most unnerving. The tower is right on the edge of a cliff so those not good with heights might not like the ascent. Even without scaling the tower, the view is incredible.