Hiking near Franklin, NC, Albert Mountain Fire tower is an excellent place for a hike along the Appalachian Trail with long range views in the Nantahala National Forest.
Make sure the weather is going to cooperate with you before you head out (this peak and section of the "Appalachian Trail" is notorious for strong lightning storms). On a clear day you can see Whiteside Mountain, Southeast of Highlands, NC. Bring your binoculars and enjoy the views even more. Check out Franklin, NC to the Northeast and Otto, NC below you and due East.
Be very careful and climb the steps of the tower all the way up to the locked gate at the top for a near 360 degree view. I can only imagine the view from the catwalk. The tower used to be a lookout for forest fires in the area and was designed to be lived in for short periods of time by local rangers. There are a couple different routes one can take to get to the summit, check out my other points of interest named, "Albert Mtn Fire Tower #2", "Albert Mtn Fire Tower #3."
For the serious hiker we recommend Albert Mountain #3.
For the historic site seekers and leisurely hikers we recommend Albert Mountain #1.
For the backcountry camper we recommend Albert Mountain #'s 2 &3.
For the pet friendly hiker we recommend #'s 1,2 or 3.
In Franklin, NC take Hwy-64 W towards Murphy, NC for 12 miles. At just before the 12th mile you will see a brown sign for "Wallace Gap", "Appalachian Trail" & "Standing Indian Campground" with arrows pointing you towards West Old Murphy Road(SR 1448) on your left. Stay on West Old Murphy Rd. for 2 miles. You'll pass a Nantahala National Forest sign for the campground saying "500 Ft Ahead", and at 2 miles you'll be at FR (Forest Road) #67 to your right (indicated by a small, skinny Brown sign at the beginning of the road).
Continue 1.8 miles on FR 67 until you come to a fork in the road. To your right will be the entrance to "Standing Indian Campground", avoid going right and continue on FR 67 to the left.
In about 0.3 miles the road will turn to gravel at the Nantahala National Forest Backcounrty Info Kiosk. Continue on FR #67 past Laurel Falls & Trail & Mooney Falls &Trail, until you come to another fork in the road at 8 miles from where the pavement turned to gravel. This is the intersection of FR #67 and FR #83 (towards Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory and Pickens Nose Trail).
To get to Albert Mountain, make sure you bear left (following the brown sign's arrow that is in front of you). From this intersection, stay left & straight, you are 2.1 miles from the trailhead for Albert Mtn.
You'll know you're there when the road dead ends. From here there are NO signs for Albert Mountain Fire Tower, only a gated jeep trail at the back of the circular parking area. Head down this gated road & look for a sign that reads, "Hiker trail, closed to motor vehicles, horses and pack stock" on a nearby tree just past the gate. This path is also "Blue Blazed". This will confirm you are at the right trail. Stay on this trail for about 0.2 mile until you intersect another trail, this is the Appalachian Trail (White Blazed). Take a right onto the A.T. Continue up the ridge line (steep grade) about 0.2 mile to the top of Albert Mountain, where you'll find the fire tower.