Feature - Top 10 fire lookout stays in the USA

Canopy campground – top 10 fire lookout stays in the USA

There are hundreds of tall, lean wooden lookout towers standing guard over America’s forests. Mostly erected in the late 19th century and early 20th century, they were set up as stations from which fire lookouts could keep watch over their timber territories.

These cabins – often built on stilts – are always positioned high up, upon a vantage point. Such elevated positions afford them amazing views over the sparsely populated and undeveloped forests and hillsides that surround them.

These days, thanks to enhanced monitoring systems, many forests no longer require real people to be on the lookout (literally).

Many of the larger decommissioned lookouts, which once doubled up as accommodation for the keepers, are now available for hire.

They usually hire for around $40 (£26) a night, which when split between four hikers, walkers or mountain bikers makes great value.

By their very nature, fire lookouts are remote outposts. They are miles and miles away from populated towns and cities. That, we think, is a big part of their great attraction.

Staying in a fire lookout is a little bit like camping. Actually, you might say it’s a little bit like glamping.

Fire lookouts don’t have electricity or running water, but they do have futons. Some have propane stoves and cooking utensils. None has toilets inside. Visitors have to take their own supplies with them. It’s also worth noting, given their remote and elevated locations, many fire lookouts are only accessible after lengthy and strenuous hikes.

The Forest Fire Lookout Association lists many of the fire lookout rentals available across the country. Here, based upon the handsomeness of the lookout and the beauty of their surroundings, we’ve picked our favourite 10 lookouts.

NB: We’ve linked each lookout’s name to its respective website, where you can find further information and details on how to book. (Our featured image is by D.H. Parks)

 

Warner Mountain Lookout

Photo courtesy of US Forest Service

 

Warner Mountain Lookout

Photo courtesy of US Forest Service

 

Warner Mountain Lookout

Photo courtesy of US Forest Service

 

Warner Mountain Lookout

Photo courtesy of US Forest Service

Warner Mountain Lookout – Warner Ridge, Willamette National Forest, Oregon

  • Altitude: 5,300 feet
  • Sleeps: 4

 

Jersey Jim Fire Lookout Tower

Photo courtesy of US Forest Service

 

Jersey Jim Fire Lookout Tower

Photo courtesy of US Forest Service

 

Jersey Jim Fire Lookout Tower

Photo courtesy of US Forest Service

 

Cheap Flights To Oregon

Jersey Jim Fire Lookout Tower – San Juan National Forest, Colorado

  • Altitude: 10,000 feet
  • Sleeps: 4

 

Werner Peak Lookout

Photo: Nicole Stickney

 

Werner Peak Lookout

Photo: Nicole Stickney

 

Werner Peak Lookout

Photo: Nicole Stickney

 

Werner Peak Lookout – Whitefish Mountain Range, Montana

  • Altitude:6,960 feet
  • Sleeps: 4

 

Girard Ridge Lookout

Photo courtesy of US Forest Service

 

Girard Ridge Lookout – Sacramento River Canyon, Shasta-Trinity National Forest, California

  • Altitude: 4,809 feet
  • Sleeps: 4

 

Spruce Mountain Fire Lookout

Photo courtesy of US Forest Service

 

Spruce Mountain Fire Lookout – Medicine Bow National Forest, Wyoming

  • Altitude:10,003 feet
  • Sleeps: 4

 

Sex Peak Lookout

Photo courtesy of US Forest Service

 

Sex Peak Lookout

Photo courtesy of US Forest Service

 

Sex Peak Lookout

Photo courtesy of US Forest Service

 

Sex Peak Lookout

Photo courtesy of US Forest Service

 

Sex Peak Lookout – Kootenai National Forest, Montana

  • Altitude: 5,772 feet
  • Sleeps: 4

 

Lake of the Woods Lookout

Photo courtesy of US Forest Service

 

Lake of the Woods Lookout

Photo courtesy of US Forest Service

 

Lake of the Woods Lookout

Photo courtesy of US Forest Service

 

Lake of the Woods Lookout

Photo courtesy of US Forest Service

 

Lake of the Woods Lookout – Rogue River – Siskiyou National Forest, Oregon

  • Altitude: 3,420 feet
  • Sleeps: 4

 

Fivemile Butte Lookout

Photo courtesy of US Forest Service

 

Fivemile Butte Lookout

Photo courtesy of US Forest Service

 

Fivemile Butte Lookout

Photo courtesy of US Forest Service

 

Fivemile Butte Lookout – Mount Hood National Forest, Oregon

  • Altitude: 4,627 feet
  • Sleeps: 4

 

Deadwood Lookout Recreation Cabin

Photo courtesy of US Forest Service

 

Deadwood Lookout Recreation Cabin

Photo courtesy of US Forest Service

 

Deadwood Lookout Recreation Cabin

Photo courtesy of US Forest Service

 

Deadwood Lookout Recreation Cabin – Deadwood Mountain, Boise National Forest, Idaho

  • Altitude: 8,200 feet
  • Sleeps: 4

 

Clear Lake Butte Lookout

Photo courtesy of US Forest Service

 

Clear Lake Butte Lookout

Photo courtesy of US Forest Service

 

Clear Lake Butte Lookout

Photo courtesy of US Forest Service

 

Clear Lake Butte Lookout – Mount Hood, Cascade Mountain Range, Oregon

  • Altitude: 4,454 feet
  • Sleeps: 4

Written by insider city guide series Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to…

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