There are several trails located at the Smith Mountain Fire Tower. The most, of course, being the path leading from the lower parking lot to the fire tower itself. The trail begins at the parking lot, located at the end of Powell Drive. The trail entrance is marked with a large wooden sign which spans the trail. Hiking along the trail, you will pass through a dense forest as you begin your trek up the hillside towards the tower. The trail is well maintained. The path is dirt as the lower elevations transitioning into a slightly rocky path near the top. The elevation climb along the trail is moderate. After climbing the ridge, the trail follows the side for a short distance before coming to a wood stairway towards the fire tower. There are picnic tables and several rock overlooks adjacent to the tower. The tower is open for climbing every day; and the view from the top is excellent. After spending some time enjoying the view, hikers can return to the parking lot along several different roots. The quickest being the fire tower road. If you are looking for a longer hiker, the Lakeshore trail will take you on a journey around the lake shore before returning to the lot. More information on it is available in a separate hike.
Overall the hike is moderate and the view is excellent. This is a great hike for the entire family and can be completed with about an hour. If you have more time, bring a lunch and enjoy the view from the exposed rocks at the hilltop.
From US 208 take W Lafayette Street 1 1/2 miles to Gibson Road. Follow Gibson Road 1 mile to Young's Ferry Road. Turn right and follow Young's Ferry Road 2 miles to Powell Drive and follow the brown signs to the parking lot.