Several friends had been telling me to take a hike up to the top of Yellow Mountain, so when the weather warmed up for a day we did. Wow, was it worth it! The 360 degree views from the peak are spectacular.
Yellow mountain is 5127 feet tall, making it one of the tallest mountains in the area and providing a panoramic views that took my breath away (which I had barely gotten back after the steep hike to get here). The peak is almost bare of trees, which is likely the source of its name. Balds, open spots of land on the tops of the mountains, are a common local sight, and the vegetation covering them is pale yellow in the winter. These are such a common sight on North Carolina mountains that there are several mountains in the state with same name.
Yellow Mountain is capped with a wooden, white-painted fire tower that was built in the 1930s. It was decommissioned in 1969, but it has been restored and provides the best vantage point for scoping out the surrounding countryside.
I could see Cashiers, Franklin, and the edge of Whiteside Mountain. At the time, I did not know the names of the mountains surround the peak, but I have looked some of them up. You can see Hogback Mountain, Shortoff Mountain, and apparently Clingman’s Dome in the distance.
There several ways to get to the top of Yellow Mountain, but the designated access is off of Buck Creek Road. Buck Creek Road is east of Highlands on US 64, on the North side (close to the hospital). The trailhead is about a mile down the road on the right. There is additional parking on the left. From here, the trail to Yellow Mountain is approximately 5 miles one way and strenuous.
For excellent information about Hiking North Carolina’s Lookout Towers check out Peter J Barr’s book of that name.