Smith Mountain Fire Tower & Trails

Smith Mountain

Historic Fire Tower, Educational Exhibits, And Trails

Smith Mountain is the tallest elevation on Lake Martin’s shoreline and once served as the district office of the Alabama Forestry Commission.  Atop the jagged peak is a historic 90 foot fire lookout tower. Completed in 1939, it was the central tower of a six-tower fire protection network.  In addition to the tower, boys from the Civilian Conservation Corp built a ranger station, cistern, shop building, map tables, picnic area and other amenities.  Signature rockwork of the Civilian Conservation Corp is still visible. Abandoned by the Forestry Commission in 1980, Smith Mountain became a dumping ground and the tower fell into disrepair.  In 2010, CRATA obtained title to Smith Mountain and thanks to numerous donors contributing money, materials, and volunteer labor, the tower was restored to a stronger and safer condition than when it was new.  The cabin of the tower arguably offers the most spectacular panoramic view in Alabama with clear waters of Lake Martin below and mountains of Talladega National Forest visible to the North. In 2018, CRATA completed another major project on Smith Mountain.  A series of kiosk mounted displays, wayside exhibits, and tower mounted signage describe the natural and cultural history of the area, offering visitors an educational experience in an inspiring outdoor setting.

For more information, visit CRATA.

Smith Mountain is a part of the Piedmont Plateau Birding Trail. Black and Turkey Vultures are almost always soaring around Smith Mountain. While a common sight in many places, the 90 foot fire lookout tower enables you to see vultures from above, a unique perspective enjoyed by many. Smith Mountain’s old growth mountain longleaf pines host many woodpeckers. Along the shoreline herons are common and migratory waterfowl are frequent visitors in winter.

For more information, visit Piedmont Plateau Birding Trail.

The below information is from All-Trails. For additional information, visit AllTrails.

Distance: 1-8.6 Miles (4 different trails)

Route Type: 3 Trails Loop (interconnected)

Elevation: Up to 442 Feet

  • Hiking
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Views
  • Lake (on some of the trails)
  • Fishing (on some of the trails)
  • Dogs Welcome on Leash

Founded in 2004 as a 501(c)(3) charitable non-profit organization, the Cherokee Ridge Alpine Trail Association (CRATA), has been dedicated to the design, building, and maintenance of quality, well marked foot path only hiking trails around the Lake Martin and Tallapoosa river areas in central Alabama. CRATA has built a reputation for providing quality trails for public enjoyment.

Visit CRATA for more information.