Big Bear Pen Mountain Live Cam

A panoramic view of the mountains surrounding Highlands


Big Bear Pen Mountain is a prominent natural feature located near the town of Highlands, North Carolina. It holds historical and cultural significance for the area.

Cherokee Legacy: Before European settlers arrived, the Cherokee people inhabited this region. The mountain and its surroundings likely held cultural and spiritual significance for them, though specific details about their use of the area may not be well-documented.

European Settlement: In the early 19th century, European settlers began moving into the Highlands area. The mountain and its surrounding forests would have played a role in their lives, providing resources for sustenance and shelter.

Logging and Timber Industry: In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the logging and timber industry was a significant part of the local economy. The abundant forests around Big Bear Pen Mountain were logged for timber, which was crucial for the construction industry.

Fire Tower: One of the most notable features on Big Bear Pen Mountain was a fire tower that was constructed in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), a work relief program during the Great Depression. This tower was part of a network of fire towers that helped spot and manage forest fires in the region.

Recreation and Tourism: As the 20th century progressed, the Highlands area became a popular destination for tourists seeking respite from the heat of the lowlands. The mountain offered hiking opportunities and scenic views, contributing to the appeal of the region.

Conservation Efforts: In recent decades, there has been a growing recognition of the importance of preserving natural spaces like Big Bear Pen Mountain. Conservation efforts have worked to protect the area's biodiversity and maintain its natural beauty.

Current Status: Today, Big Bear Pen Mountain remains an important part of the Highlands landscape. The fire tower, which stands as a symbol of the area's history, is a popular destination for hikers seeking panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

It's worth noting that specific details about the history of Big Bear Pen Mountain may vary, and local historical societies or archives may have additional information about the mountain's past. If you're particularly interested in this area, it's recommended to consult local resources for a more detailed and accurate account.

Top Tourist Attractions

The Mountain and its surrounding area offer a range of attractions for visitors to enjoy. Here are some of the top tourist attractions in and around Big Bear Pen Mountain in Highlands, North Carolina:

  • Big Bear Pen Tower: The fire tower on Big Bear Pen Mountain is a popular attraction. Visitors can climb to the top for breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
  • Highlands Biological Station: Located near Big Bear Pen Mountain, this research and education facility includes the Highlands Botanical Garden and the Highlands Nature Center. It offers a variety of educational programs and beautiful garden displays.
  • Satulah Mountain: This neighboring mountain offers another great viewpoint. Visitors can hike to the top for stunning vistas of the Highlands area.
  • Whiteside Mountain: A short drive from Big Bear Pen, Whiteside Mountain is known for its impressive cliffs and offers a challenging hiking trail that leads to the summit.
  • Dry Falls: Located on the Cullasaja River, this stunning waterfall is easily accessible, allowing visitors to walk behind it for a unique perspective.
  • Bridal Veil Falls: Another picturesque waterfall along the Cullasaja River, Bridal Veil Falls can be viewed from a parking area, and visitors can walk behind it as well.
  • Glen Falls: This series of three waterfalls is a bit more remote, requiring a short hike to reach. The effort is rewarded with the sight and sound of these beautiful cascades.
  • Highlands Art Galleries: The town of Highlands has a thriving arts community, with numerous galleries featuring a wide range of artistic styles and mediums.
  • Hiking Trails: In addition to the specific attractions, the Highlands area offers an abundance of hiking trails, varying in difficulty and offering opportunities to explore the natural beauty of the region.
  • Lake Sequoyah: A peaceful spot for fishing, boating, and picnicking, Lake Sequoyah is located just outside of Highlands.
  • Shopping and Dining in Highlands: The town of Highlands itself is known for its charming shops and a variety of restaurants offering a range of cuisines.
  • Highlands Playhouse: This community theater offers a variety of live performances, including plays, musicals, and concerts.

Remember to check for any specific visiting hours, seasonal closures, or special events at these attractions, as availability may change. Enjoy your visit to Big Bear Pen Mountain and the surrounding area!


The Mountain experiences a temperate climate due to its elevation and location in the southern Appalachian Mountains. Here's an overview of the typical climate you can expect:

  • Spring (March to May): Spring in this region brings warming temperatures and blooming vegetation. Highs range from the 60s to 70s °F (15-25 °C), while nighttime lows can dip into the 30s and 40s °F (1-9 °C).
  • Summer (June to August): Summers are pleasantly warm, with highs averaging in the upper 70s to low 80s °F (25-30 °C). Evenings are cooler, ranging from the 50s to 60s °F (10-20 °C).
  • Fall (September to November): Fall is a popular time to visit due to the colorful foliage. Highs range from the 60s to 70s °F (15-25 °C), while evenings become progressively cooler, with temperatures dropping into the 40s and 50s °F (4-15 °C).
  • Winter (December to February): Winters can be cold, with highs in the 40s and 50s °F (4-15 °C) and lows frequently dropping below freezing. Snowfall is possible, especially at higher elevations.
  • The region receives a relatively consistent amount of rainfall throughout the year, but there can be variations. Summer tends to be slightly wetter due to occasional afternoon thunderstorms, while winter may see more precipitation in the form of snow.
  • Humidity levels are generally moderate, but can vary depending on the weather pattern. Summers can feel a bit more humid due to occasional rain and the lush vegetation.
  • Keep in mind that the climate on Big Bear Pen Mountain itself can differ from the lower elevations. Higher elevations tend to be cooler and may receive more precipitation, including snow in the winter.
  • The area can occasionally experience severe weather events such as thunderstorms, particularly in the summer months. While not common, it's advisable to be aware of local weather forecasts during your visit.

Please note that these are general climate patterns and actual weather conditions can vary from year to year. Always check local weather forecasts before planning outdoor activities, especially if you're visiting during transitional seasons.


Big Bear Pen Mountain is a prominent natural feature located near the town of Highlands in Macon County, North Carolina. Here's an overview of its geography:

  • It is situated in the southern Appalachian Mountains in western North Carolina, USA.
  • The summit of Big Bear Pen Mountain stands at an elevation of approximately 4,370 feet (1,332 meters) above sea level.
  • The mountain is characterized by rugged terrain with steep slopes and rocky outcroppings. The topography varies, with a mix of exposed rock faces and dense forested areas.
  • Big Bear Pen Mountain is part of a larger network of mountains and ridges in the region, which includes other notable peaks like Satulah Mountain and Whiteside Mountain.
  • The mountain provides stunning panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, including the town of Highlands, the Blue Valley, and the Nantahala National Forest. The fire tower on the summit is a popular spot for visitors to take in these breathtaking vistas.
  • While Big Bear Pen Mountain itself doesn't have major water features, the surrounding area is dotted with streams and rivers, including the Cullasaja River, which flows nearby.
  • The mountain is covered with a variety of vegetation typical of the southern Appalachian region. This includes a mix of deciduous and coniferous trees, such as oak, hickory, pine, and rhododendron.
  • The area around Big Bear Pen Mountain is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including deer, black bears, wild turkeys, and various bird species.
  • There are trails and roads that provide access to the mountain. The fire tower, which offers spectacular views, is a popular destination for hikers.
  • Efforts have been made to conserve and protect the natural beauty and biodiversity of Big Bear Pen Mountain and the surrounding area. This includes initiatives to maintain the integrity of the ecosystem and ensure sustainable recreational use.

Overall, Big Bear Pen Mountain's rugged terrain, impressive views, and rich biodiversity make it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. It holds a special place in the natural landscape of the southern Appalachian Mountains.