Type: 20′ tower with R-6 cab
Visited: June 30 – July 4, 2023
I managed to get a reservation for Bald Knob Lookout in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest for the 4th of July weekend. It’s a long drive down from Portland, plus the highway down to Powers is super curvy and I got carsick.
There are two gates on Road 020, but they were both open:
This sign is targeted at non-renters, but we didn’t see any visitors during our stay. I don’t think anyone drove up during the day while we were gone, either:
A baseball bat? That’s a new one:
Picnic table and fire ring outside. The Forest Service does not provide firewood, but someone had left a stash. We did not build a fire. It was WAY too windy for that:
Some of the windows open, and they do have screens, but they need to be propped open with a stick:
There was a big fat binder full of information, although much of it was old, outdated, or duplicated:
There was a firefinder here as recently as 2017, according to a logbook entry. However it’s gone now, despite the presence of this notice in the binder:
We spent five days, four nights at the lookout. It was crazy windy the entire time, however we lucked out with sunny weather the whole time too, so that was good:
The trees have really grown up, so the views are limited. The best views are to the west.
Barklow Mountain is a prominent landmark in that direction:
The long ridge of Iron Mountain is also visible to the west:
Without any clouds the sunsets weren’t jaw-dropping, but they were nice all the same:
There was a full moon on Monday, which meant it was up for most of the night and it was BRIGHT:
We had one 30-minute window on Friday night to see the stars, between moonset and the first light of sunrise. It was worth setting the alarm and getting up:
Things to know if you rent Bald Knob:
- Pets are not allowed at Bald Knob Lookout. Incredibly, people wrote in the logbook about bringing their dogs here. One couple even brought their cat!
- This place was light on supplies. Just two pans and no dishes or silverware.
- There is a propane cook stove and a propane heater. There’s also a propane fridge.
- The lookout contains a table and two chairs. The Forest Service website says that the cabin contains a single bed. This is incorrect. The lookout has two beds.
- There is no bucket and pulley system for getting your gear up the tower. You’ll have to haul it up the stairs
- The windows that open have screens, but there is no screen door.
- The Verizon signal was very weak here.
- We enjoyed several hikes while staying here including Hanging Rock, Mt. Bolivar, and Iron Mountain. Barklow Mountain was not worth doing.
Some of the mileages provided in the Forest Service directions were inaccurate. Here’s what we measured.
Driving south on Highway 242 from Powers, and set your trip meter when you get to the forest boundary. Drive for 12.1 miles to the junction with Road 3348 and turn left. Drive for 2 miles to the junction with Road 5520 and turn right. Drive for 1.2 miles, then turn right on Road 020 and drive for 3.2 miles. There was a gate at 2.3 miles and another gate at 3 miles, neither of which were locked when we stayed.
Note: as always DO NOT follow Google Maps to get here! As a test we asked Google Maps to direct us and it tried to take us some other route that is wrong.
In 1914 a shake shelter was constructed on Bald Knob:
A 14×14′ L-4 ground house was completed in 1931, and was accompanied by a twenty-one foot pole tower for observation.
A 20′ tower with an R-6 cab was built in 1962, and the old house was removed. The tower is no long staffed and is available as a rental in the summer.