If Oregon is known for anything, it’s for featuring some of the most sought-after outdoor areas in the country, if not the world. However, when winter rears its mean, soggy head, the notion of marching out into the wilderness to sleep outside becomes far less alluring. Let’s face it: Cold, wet conditions make the thought of pitching a tent somewhat unappealing.
There remains an option to enjoy the breathtaking vistas of Oregon’s countryside—even during the winter—that doesn’t involve braving the cold when it’s time to tuck in for the night. There are over a dozen fire lookout towers across Oregon perched atop hills and ridges, giving them panoramic views of the surrounding forest areas.
During the warmer parts of the year, the towers are used to spot some dipshit’s abandoned campfire. The colder months provide the United States Forest Service an opportunity to make a few bucks by renting the towers out to campers.
Since U.S. forest rangers often spend long periods of time in the towers, many are fully-furnished and, although you have to hike into a handful of them, most are accessible via forest service roads. If you aren’t sure what a forest service road is, it essentially means you’ll have to leave that fuel efficient two-door hybrid of yours at home and find a friend with a vehicle that can handle more than the occasional Portland pothole. Campers are also typically required to pack in their own amenities such as bedding, food, water and basic camping gear.
For as little as $50 per night in some cases, a fire lookout tower could serve as your own private bungalow. You could make it a mini-adventure for you and your friends, spend some quality time with your family or take your special someone out there and get weird where nobody’s watching—other than God, that kinky bastard.
Reservations for the fire lookout towers in Oregon can be made online at recreation.gov.