|Last Update: April 23, 2008
|If you like lookouts, then please visit the
Forest Fire Lookout Association homepage.
|At one time there were literally thousands of fire lookouts all over the Pacific Northwest. Almost every major mountain or hill top
had one. But time and technology has phased many of them out. Sadly, the Federal and State Forest Services burned down
most of the abandoned lookouts in the early and late 1970s for liability reasons.
Today the numbers have dwindled down to only a few hundred. But most are accessible to the public and the views are
incredible. Some of the best you will ever see, as these lookouts, by design, are mounted on high mountain tops for the best 360
degree view of the area. In Oregon, approximately 206 lookout towers are standing of nearly 1000 originally built. About half of
those are still staffed. In Washington, 107 towers still exist out of more than 650, but the number still staffed is less than 30.
Some of the most interesting lookouts are the very rare ones that are abandoned and still intact. There are many towers that are
reserved only for emergencies. When the fire danger is so great, they are returned to service. But the occasional lookout, such
as Bear Butte, Oregon that will never again see service, but somehow escaped the torches of the Federal Government, are the
This page will describe the lookouts that we visited and photographed, including pictures and what history and information that we
know. If you see any needed corrections, feel free to email me anytime.
If you visit an active lookout that's in use, please be courteous to the lookout tower operator, so that future public access might
remain the norm. Keep in mind that in remote areas, these operators sometimes live there during the week, so please respect
their safety, security and privacy.
In addition to fire lookouts, this page also features coast lookouts and lighthouses from the west coast, that we've visited. The
lighthouses featured here are extremely interesting, because almost all of them were built in the 1800s.
Some are well over 145 years!
|The Following Fire Lookouts are included on this page
Bear Butte, Oregon - Fairview Peak, Oregon - Fremont Point, Oregon - Granite Butte, Oregon - Green Mountain, Oregon - Hat
Point, Oregon - Indian Rock, Oregon - Odell Butte, Oregon - Parker Mountain, Oregon - Soda Mountain, Oregon - Red Top Mtn,
Washington - Snow Mountain, Oregon - Warner Mountain, Oregon
|The Following Lighthouses & other lookouts are included on this page.
Cape Meares, Oregon - Cape Perpetua, Oregon - Fisgard, Victoria BC - Heceta Head, Oregon - Umpqua River, Oregon -
Yaquina Head, Oregon
|Note: Most pictures were taken by us, unless otherwise noted. Links to historic lookout photos, and much of the historic information is from the
Forest Fire Lookout Association Website
|Both Fire Lookouts and Lighthouses are shown below in alphabetical order
Bear Butte Lookout
Type: 1949-9'x9' wood cab Location: Bear Butte, Oregon Photo date: Spring, 2002 Elev: 5527' Status: Abandoned
This was one of the neatest lookouts that we've discovered. It was totally abandoned and perched up on a rock in the middle of nowhwere. It
required climbing up a semi-cliff to reach, but was not particularlly difficult. It's been abandoned since 1966, yet its still managed to survive. Partly
because it's not easy to find or visit or well known. It's located in the Klamath FPA.
Cape Meares Lighthouse
Type: 1890-38' tower Location: Tillamook, Oregon Photo date: June, 2005 Elev: 217' Status: Decommissioned
Built in 1890, at 38' feet tall it's the shortest lighthouse in Oregon. But since it stands on a 217' foot bluff, tower height was not needed. Instead of
being automated it was actually decommissioned in 1963. A brand new modern Coast Guard light that is placed nearby took over the job. But the
historical light house is still open to visitors. The light house and property now belong to the State of Oregon and is maintained by the
Friends of Cape Meares Lighthouse & Wildlife Refuge Inc.
Cape Perpetua Lookout
Type: 1933-rock & mortor structure Location: Florence, Oregon Photo date: August, 2003 Elev: 718' Status: public park
Originally built in 1933 by the Civilian Conservation Corp, it was converted to be used by the Coast Guard to watch for Japanese Submarines during
World War Two, 1941-1945. Today, it's a tourist spot for a great view over the southern Oregon coast.
Fairview Peak Lookout
Type: 1972-53' tower Location: Fairview Peak, Oregon Photo date: Fall, 2001 Elev: 5933' Status: Emergency
The Fairview Peak Lookout is operated by the U.S. Forest Service and is currently an active lookout. It was original staffed in the 1920s. Between
'58-'68 an Air Force Radar station existed here as well. In 1972, the tower was rebuilt. It's only staffed during extreme fire dangers.
Original building was a 1912 cabin, then a 1924 cupola cab, then a 20' L-4 tower in 1936, before the current 1972 53' tower was built.
Type: 1860- 50' tower Location: Victoria, BC Canada Photo date: June, 2004 Elev: ~15' Status: Automated
Built by the British in 1860 before Vancouver Island became part of Canada, it's the oldest still standing lighthouse in British Columbia. It marks the
entrance to Esquimalt harbor of Victoria. It was automated in 1928. Fort Rod Hill, a coastal battery which was built in 1895 was decommissioned in
1956 and is now open to visitors.
Fremont Point Lookout (now destroyed)
Type: 1936-72' steel tower Location: Fremont Point, Oregon Photo date: Spring, 2002 Elev: 7135' Status: Destroyed
We visited the Fremont Point lookout in the spring of 2002. Located in the Fremont National Forest, it appeared to be abandoned. It was boarded up
and the lower stairwell removed. However, in 2002, a few months after we visited the tower, a major fire swept through this area. Unfortunately, the
tower and cabin that was next door was destroyed and the tower heavily damaged. It was removed for safety reasons.
Granite Butte Lookout
Type: 1954-20' tower R-6 cab Location: Granite Butte, Montana Photo date: Summer, 2002 Elev: 7600' Status: Emergency
We discovered this lookout about 12 miles or so out of Lincoln, Montana. It's located on the continental divide and offers an interesting view
of the western Montana Mountains and the eastern Montana plains from the same location. It's in the Helena National Forest.
Green Mountain Lookout
Type: 1963-2 story brick building Location: Green Mtn, Oregon Photo date: Fall, 2001 Elev: 5190' Status: Active
The Green Mountain Lookout is operated by the BLM. The 2 story brick building built in 1963 is actually the original building on site. It's located in
the BLM's Lakeview District.
Hat Point Lookout
Type: 1948-82' tower 7'x7' cab Location: Hat Point, Oregon Photo date: July, 2005 Elev: 6982' Status: Active
Hat Point is a U.S. Forest Service lookout overlooking Hells Canyon. At 7000 feet it offers an amazing view of the deepest canyon in North America. It
also has a unique "public deck" below the main lookout cabin that allows visitors to get a great view without disturbing the fire lookout. More pics on
this article of mine. The original tower was a 1916 60' tower.
Heceta Head Lighthouse
Type: 1894-56' tower Location: Florence, Oregon Photo date: 8/2003-7/2005 Altitude: 205' Status: Automated
Built in 1894 to fill the navigation gap between Cape Arago and Yaquina Head. The lighthouse was extremely isolated and only accessible by often
impassable wagon road or the beach and had to be self sufficient. It was linked to the rest of the world when Hwy 101 was built in the early 1930s.
It was automated in 1963 and transferred to the U.S. Forest Service. Picture on the far right shows Heceta at a distance.
Indian Rock Lookout
Type: 1959 flat cab Location: Indian Rock, Oregon Photo date: July, 2003 Elev: 7353' Status: Active
Indian Rock lookout is an active lookout located in the Malheur National Forest. First established in the 1920s with a cupola cabin then replaced with
an L-4 cabin in 1934, before this 1959 flat cabin was built. More pics and info on this article of mine.
Odell Butte Lookout
Type: 1963-30' tower R-6 cab Location: Odell Butte, Oregon Photo date: Spring, 2003 Elev: 7033' Status: Active
Originally established in 1916 with a log crig frame cabin which was replaced with a 20' tower in 1932. The current structure was built in 1963. It's
operated by the Deschutes National Forest.
Parker Mountain Lookout
Type: 1997-50' tower Location: Parker Mountain, Oregon Photo date: Spring, 2003 Elev: 5210' Status: Active
The original 1934 30' tower was destroyed by vandals in 1996. This new steel tower was built the next year. It's operated by the Oregon
Department of Forestry and actually overlooks a large chunk of privately owned forest land.
Soda Mountain Lookout
Type: 1962-10' tower ODF cab Location: Soda Mtn, Oregon Photo date: Spring, 2003 Elev: 6091' Status: Active
This lookout is operated by the Oregon Department of Forestry and has been manned since the early 1930s, although the present building dates to
1962. Located in Jackson County about 13 miles from Ashland, Oregon
Red Top Lookout
Type: 1952-10' tower L-4 cab Location: Red Top Mountain, WA Photo date: June, 2003 Elev: 5391' Status: Active
Operated by the U.S. Forest Service is this interesting lookout perched high a rock and requiring a very steep, but short hike to reach.
It was abandoned in the 1970s, but restored in 1997 and return to service. It's located in the Wenatchee National Forest. The original lookout was a
1924 cabin, which was replaced with a 1928 cupola cabin, before the current 1952 10' tower was built.
Snow Mountain Lookout
Type: 1961-10' wood tower with R-6 cab Location: Snow Mtn, Oregon Photo date: Summer, 2000 Elev: 7163' Status: Active
The Snow Mountain lookout is operated by the U.S. Forest service and as of 2000 was an active lookout. Located in the Ochoco National Forest.
The original lookout was a 1915 D-5 ground cabin, replaced in 1930 with an L-4 cabin, before the current 1961 10' tower with R-6 cabin.
The Umpqua River Lighthouse
Type: 1888-65 foot tower Location: Winchester Bay, Oregon Photo date: 8/2003-4/2005 Altitude: n/a Status:
Built in the late 1880s, to guard the mouth of the Umpqua River, it replaced the original lighthouse that fell into the sea in the 1860s. The Umpqua LH
was built 100 feet above sealevel on a bluff. It was automated in the 1960s and entire grounds was turned over the state of Oregon
and turned into a park.
Warner Ridge Lookout
Type: 1986-41' tower Location: Warner Mtn, Oregon Photo date: Fall, 2001 Elev: 5723' Status: Active
The Warner Ridge Lookout is operated by the U.S. Forest service and is currently an active lookout. The cab origonally came from
Green Mountain apparently. Located in the Willamette National Forest. It's an extreme rare cupola cabin on a tower.
The Yaquina Head Lighthouse
Type: 1873-93 foot tower Location: Newport, Oregon Photo date: Summer, 2002 Altitude: 162' Status: Automated
Built in 1873 to guard the mouth of the Yaquina River at Newport. It's one of the most popular lighthouses in the world.
It was automated in 1966. The Lighthouse and property are now turned over to and maintained by the BLM.
|Zeyn's Oregon fire lookout page
An excellent Fire look out of the Northwests book
List of most lookouts in the U.S. listed by state
|Copyright © 2002-2008 Brian McCamish, All Rights Reserved
Note about the photos & content on this site:
Most photos were taken by me. I usually allow people to use my photos for personal use or websites. Simply Email me. I may not have authority to grant
permission regarding some photos that were only loaned to me by others specifically for this website.
|Return to my Homepage
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Return to the Abandoned & Active Railroads Page
Flattop Mountain Lookout (East Flattop)
Type: 1946 14x14 2 story Location: Flattop Mtn, WA Photo date: Summer, 2007 Elev: 4382' Status: Abandoned
The original look out was built here on the east side in 1921. The original structure was then moved to the west side in 1930 and destroyed in 1960. A new structure was
built in 1930 to replace the structure that was moved. It apparently existed in 1997, but has since been destroyed. In 1933, a L5 cab was built here, but was destroyed in
1946. In 1946, this structure was built with a lower 14x14 two story with a cab building up top with modern sloped windows. It was abandoned in 1960.
From 1960 until the 1990s, the two story building remained. A restoration was planned in the late 1990s, but at some point, the upper cab either fell off or was removed.
Today, the lower story is all that is left. It's doubtful it will restored at this point.
This is a USFS photo of the above building taken right after it was built in 1946.