During the summer of 2011 my boyfriend (now husband) and I started working on the Oregon Fire Lookout Challenge. In order to complete this geocaching challenge we would have to find 50 caches at current or former lookout sites in Oregon. As we started working towards completing this challenge it turned out to be so much fun that I decided I would tack on a personal challenge: I would visit every publicly-accessible standing fire lookout in Oregon. (Some lookouts are on private land and therefore inaccessible.) I became so interested in lookouts that I even wrote a book about them.
Oregon used to have more than 800 lookouts. When I started this project in 2011 there were about 170 lookouts still standing, although that number diminishes every year as old towers continue to be removed. Some old lookouts are restored and maintained by volunteers and some are spruced up to become part of the Forest Service rental program. But others are either too far-gone or not deemed worthy of keeping so the managing agencies remove them. (As of July 2022 there are 157 standing lookouts.)
Between work and life and the fact that the high spots where lookouts are located are only accessible for a few months a year, I expect that this project will take me at least a decade. But it sure will be fun while I’m working on it!
Here is a map of every standing fire lookout in Oregon. The green markers with black dots indicate lookouts that I’ve visited. Red markers indicated lookouts that I visited, but that have seen been removed, destroyed, or burned in a wildfire.
View Oregon Fire Lookouts in a larger map
Tally: 3 crow’s nests, 101 lookouts
2007: Hat Point | Iron Mountain
2011: Mt. Pisgah | Black Mountain | Wolf Mountain | Coffin Mountain | Lava Butte
2012: P Ranch | Sodhouse Tower | Clear Lake Butte | Point Prominence | Mt. Harris | Goodman Ridge | Joe’s Point | Fivemile Butte | Flag Point | Devil’s Peak
2013: Little Cowhorn Mountain | Saddleblanket Mountain | Bus Point | Odell Butte | Pine Ranger Station | Summit Point | Gold Butte | Pechuck Mountain
2014: Bull of the Woods | Bunker Hill | Snow Camp Mountain | Wildhorse Lookout | Quail Prairie | Carpenter Mountain | Olallie Mountain | Warner Mountain | Sisi Butte
2015: Pickett Butte | Acker Rock | Tiller Ranger Station | Bland Mountain | Indian Ridge
2016: Ritter Butte | Black Butte (Malheur NF) | Aldrich Mountain | Bone Point | Black Butte (Deschutes NF)
2017: Soda Mountain | Rebel Rock
2018: Green Mountain | Dry Mountain | Bald Butte | Sugarloaf Mountain | Unity Ranger Station | Table Rock
2019: Squaw Peak | Dutchman Peak
2020: Trout Creek Butte | Spring Butte | Bolan Mountain | Little Grayback | Hopkins Demonstration Forest
2021: East Butte | Fox Butte | Tower Point | Pearsoll Peak | Onion Mountain | Sexton Mountain | Fall Mountain | Frazier Point | Calamity Butte | King Mountain | Dry Soda | Lookout Mountain (Umatilla NF) | High Ridge
2022: Wagontire Mountain | Riddle Mountain | Chase Mountain | Parker Mountain | Table Mountain | Hager Mountain | Drake Peak | Tope Creek | Courtney Butte | Crane Point | Antelope Mountain
2023: Green Ridge | Hoodoo Ridge | Red Hill | Buckhorn | McGraw | Harl Butte | Bald Knob | Mt. Stella | White Point | Halls Point | Hershberger Mountain | Garwood Butte | Cinnamon Butte | Pig Iron Mountain | Illahee Rock | Mule Peak | Russel Mountain | Mt. Ireland