Picture taken by Joanna Adams Sergent

High Knob Observatory, Norton Virginia

High Knob Observatory offers panoramic views of a five state area. The current tower is the third one built and is now fire-proof.

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Picture taken by Joanna Adams Sergent of the High Knob Observatory
Picture taken by Joanna Adams Sergent of the High Knob Observatory

High Knob Observatory offers a panoramic view of five states. Kentucky is to the west. West Virginia is northeast of the tower. North Carolina is in the southeast direction. Tennessee is directly south and beautiful views of Virginia itself. The tower boasts breath taking views of the cities of Norton and Wise. Which also includes the views of the counties of Lee, Scott, and Wise.

The Thomas Jefferson National is home to the High Knob Observation Tower. The northern section of the George Washington National forest is home to the High Knob Fire Tower and the forest can be seen from the High Knob Observatory, however, the two are not to be confused.

Picture taken by Joanna Adams Sergent of the High Knob Observatory
Picture taken by Joanna Adams Sergent of the High Knob Observatory

The High Knob Observatory is located on the peak of Stone Mountain, at an elevation of 4,223 feet. The steep winding road was originally a wagon road that connected Norton to Dungannon. The tower straddles the area that divides Scott and Wise Counties in Virginia. It was originally built as a fire tower and is one of the few that are remaining in the Appalachian Mountains.

History of the Towers

Picture taken by Joanna Adams Sergent of the High Knob Observatory
Picture taken by Joanna Adams Sergent of the High Knob Observatory

The current observation tower at the location is the third such tower. In the 1930s, there was a fire tower built for the area. Forest fires are a huge event in the Appalachian Mountains and the towers provide a needed service to spot them and help put them out before it turns into a tragic event. The first tower burned down just 40 years after its founding.

In 1978, a new three story tower was constructed. The Flatwoods Job Corp built the tower. In the early morning hours of October 31, 2007, the tower fell victim to arson. Through the consolidated effort of The High Knob Enhancement Corporation, the Clinch Ranger District, and the Norton Community’s love for the landmark, efforts began in 2009 to rebuild the area.

Picture taken by Joanna Adams Sergent of the High Knob Observatory
Picture taken by Joanna Adams Sergent of the High Knob Observatory

The area is now completed. Artistically pleasing the new tower compliments the area. The slopping path that leads to the area is easy to walk with minimal effort and is handicapped-accessible. The new fire-proof observation tower has become a symbol of hope for the surrounding areas.

Be sure to bring your cameras as the view from the tower is breathtaking. And while you are there be sure to check out the Flag Rock area that is just below the observatory on Stone Mountain.

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Source Information

HIGH KNOB INTERPRETIVE GUIDE
http://southwestvirginiacsi.wix.com/highknob

High Knob Observation Tower
https://heartofappalachia.com/places/high-knob-observation-tower/

High Knob Observation Tower
https://www.virginia.org/listing/high-knob-observation-tower/6808/

High Knob Observation Tower
http://dotconstructioninc.com/portfolio/high-knob-observation-tower/

High Knob observation Tower; Va
https://www.eastcoasthiker.com/trails/highknoblookout/

The pictures were taken by Joanna Adams Sergent

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