Fire Lookout Towers: Ideal Wilderness Getaway?

fire lookout tower photo
Photo by #ODF

Looking for a unique wilderness getaway, but feel like you’ve seen it all? Don’t worry– if there’s anything we’ve learned in our years working in the Rocky Mountain wilderness, it’s that you’ll never run out of surprises!

Take these fire lookout towers, for example! If you’re looking for a unique wilderness getaway with a view to kill, you’re gonna be hard-pressed to find something to top this two-story tower nestled in Oregon’s Strawberry Mountain Wilderness. Offering a 360-degree view of Eastern Oregon’s Blue Mountains, this lookout tower is a great place to go if you’re looking to get away.

Be a part of American history

Fire watch lookout towers are built with a single purpose: to give the person staying there an unrivaled view of the surrounding wilderness. Built in the 1930s, towers like the ones in the Strawberry Mountain wilderness were often built by the Civilian Conservation Corps as a part of America’s ‘New Deal.’ With an eye towards natural resource management, these towers were often built in distant, hard-to-reach parts of the American wilderness. With towers like these, firefighters were able to respond to forest fires that might go unnoticed for weeks!

Nowadays, there aren’t too many places in the American wilderness that still use these towers for spotting fires. For the most part, modern technology lets the forest service spot fires with satellites and hi-res aerial imaging. That means that the need to keep a lone employee in these towers has dropped to a crawl, leaving a lot of them empty! That doesn’t mean they’re useless, however– the forest service and US Government have found an excellent solution to their problem.

Time moved on and let guests move in!

Without support and upkeep, a lot of these far-flung towers have started to break down. But recently, the forest service has decided to renovate a few of these towers! Though the amenities are just about as rustic as you can get–the tower is miles away from most utilities–the view can’t be beat!

Staying in a wilderness location means being prepared. There is no water available at the location, so any visitors have to think ahead and pack what they need to stay safe and healthy. In the same vein, make sure your vehicle can survive the trip! Wilderness roads can be pretty dicey– low clearance can mean significant damage to your car. Remember, wherever you decide to go on your wilderness getaway, make sure you do your research! Know what you need to bring, and how to stay safe and comfortable.

If you’re the type who likes to look for new adventures, then stay tuned– Tru Log’s wilderness blog is the place to find all of your off-the-beaten-path wilderness getaways!

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