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Birch Knob Observation Tower

Updated: Jun 18, 2021

If you're looking for a quick walk that opens up to an incredible view, the Birch Knob Observation Tower is the best bang for your effort. Roughly a 100 yard walk up a small hill from the parking lot below is all that stands in your way from this incredible view.

Well, that small walk plus 183 steps that zigzag across the adjacent rock surfaces up the climb.

The view from the stairs starts to open up very quickly, and if you find yourself a little short of breath or, perhaps if you're like me, a little panic stricken by the heights, don't look down, but instead look out to the far beyond and be in total awe of the incredible mountains that surround this area.

Once at the top of the observation tower you will be treated to a stunning panoramic view, with small plaques posted in different directions to let you know what state it is that you're viewing. The top offers views into Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina and it is rumored Ohio (though I can't specifically vouch on that one).

The view in all different directions varies just enough to give you plenty of little details to study on. However, if that wasn't enough, there is another incredible view that you will have to drive past on your way up to the observation tower.

On August 25th, 1965 tragedy struck the mountain as three men lost their lives in a tragic plane crash. Noted by some as Airplane Rock Overview, large sandstone rocks offer the perfect sitting place to look out upon the valley below and the mountains in the distance.

It is the perfect quiet place to sit and take in a view, and if your heart should desire to, reflect on the deeper side of life.

There is small pull-off where you can park in this area, which is also next to the memorial stone. Be mindful that there is a drop off the edge of the rocks, use caution and good smarts when navigating this area.

Be mindful that the road the leading up to the Observation Tower is mostly gravel, dirt, and some loose stones. The terrain can be a little bit rough at times, with ruts and depending on weather, mud. So, just take your time as you navigate your way up.

Once you reach the observation parking lot, you'll notice a privy (out house), ample parking, and signs that will lead you down the Pine Mountain Trail, which I also recommend if you are an avid hiker. There are helpful signs before you start up the hill giving you some history about the area.

In addition to that, full disclosure, copperheads have been reported to hang out in the privy (outhouse) during hot summer months. Black bears and timber rattlers are also in the surrounding areas nearby. Watch your step and please utilize the "no trace" guidelines (if you pack it in, then pack it back out). This ensures a clean hiking area for other visitors as well as a safe one for visitors and wildlife.


From Clintwood, Virginia 24228, take McClure Ave to Clintwood Main St 37 s (0.1 mi) Follow Brush Creek Rd and State Rte 611 to Birch Knob Dr 11 min (5.6 mi) Drive to Birch Knob Dr 25 min (4.9 mi) Google Maps is your friend

As always, keep it safe, keep it cool, stay curious

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