Wild and Wonderful Locations: West Virginia Fire Towers


Hello, Wild and Wonderful readers,

Our location posts are meant to give you a more in-depth glimpse into outdoor areas that are near and dear to our hearts. These places are great for hiking, adventures with furry friends, and beautiful Instagram pictures. We hope you'll follow along with us and take on an adventure of your own. Lastly, we hope you remember, "Mountaineers are Always Free."

West Virginia is home to twenty-four fire towers that are registered through the National Historic Lookout Register.  These fire towers provide an incredible vantage point to view the surrounding mountains! Unfortunately some of these fire towers cannot be climbed due to the wear and tear of time, and the lack of maintenance.  These are the must see fire towers in the state.

History

Fire towers have been used in state and national forests for years.  Traditionally these towers were manned daily.  These towers were originally all enclosed due to them being constantly occupied by a person keeping a look out for fires.  The enclosed structure at the top of the towers are referred to as cabs.  

Thorny Mountain Fire Tower
    

Image Credit: Alex Zurbuch

This great tower is nestled in the mountains of Pocahontas County.  It is the only fire tower in the state you can rent for the night.  To rent this fire tower you will need to contact (304) 799-6213 and pay a rental fee of roughly $95 per night.  Yon can also obtain more information on renting the tower at https://wvstateparks.com/park/seneca-state-forest/.  The tower has an enclosed cab at the top as well as a wraparound outside deck area.  The room features two cots however up to four people can comfortably stay in this unique getaway.  At the bottom of the tower there is a fire ring which is perfect for roasting marshmallows or cooking silver turtles.  This fire tower is perfect if you want to see incredible sunrises and sunsets from far above the tree line.

Bickles Knob Fire Tower

A short drive away from Elkins, WV this fire tower is a definite must see. The Bickle Knob Fire Tower has an open deck, which provides a 360 degree view of the surrounding mountain ranges. The fire tower is only a 2-3 minute walk from its gravel parking lot. If you get a clear night this fire tower is the perfect spot for star gazing or in the fall it is a great place to see the leaves’ vibrant colors.  So grab one of our adventure blankets and enjoy an evening atop of this fire tower.

Hanging Rock Raptor Observatory

Image Credit: WV Tourism

If you want to bird watch for hours this is the fire tower for you.  This observatory is placed on top of Peters Mountain in Union, West Virginia. This fire tower does have a small hike to get to the beautiful views off of the hanging rocks.  To get to the trailhead you can simply google maps “Hanging Rock Observatory Trailhead”.  The trail that leads out of this parking area is part of the Allegheny Trail which is well marked by yellow blazons you will follow to get to the observatory.  After about 4/5 of a mile you will see a sign for the raptor tower.  Once you see this sign stay left and continue on this trail until you reach the fire tower.  The hike is one mile long  out to the observatory and only has 225ft of elevation change. 

Spruce Knob Observatory

Spruce Knob fire tower provides beautiful views of the surrounding mountains.  The fire tower is only a short walk from its parking area.  You will follow a pebbled path through the pine trees before reaching the two story observatory.  There is also a lake, campsite, and hiking trails in the Spruce Knob recreation area which makes this area very diverse.  It gives you the option to either go car camping, or if your feeling adventurous it has over 60 miles of hiking trails.  No matter the activity, the fire tower is a must in your trip itinerary.

Dolly Sods Fire Tower

While you can no longer stand on the platform of this fire tower due to damage, I still recommend visiting this old fire tower if you are in the Dolly Sods Area.  This fire tower once stood off of Rohrbaugh Trail however it was then relocated to where it now sits on Forest Road 1116.  In order to get to this fire tower you will stay on the long straight road at the top of the mountain at Dolly Sods.  Once you have passed the Wildlife Trailhead on your left, Forest Road 1116 will be coming up soon on your right.  Soon after you get onto Forest Road 1116 you will reach a metal gate, park there and enjoy your 10-15 minute hike along the old over grown forest road.  Forest Road 1116 is marked on the Official Dolly Sods Trail Map so you should have no problem finding it!

Experience

These fire towers make for great weekend adventures with friends, family, your dog, or just head out solo.  No matter who you are adventuring with we recommend you grab a couple of our dad hats and a crew neck! Go enjoy the outdoors of Wild and Wonderful West Virginia!