It’s time to take a trip to one of 13 amazing Indiana fire towers! These feats of engineering are incredible to look at, challenging to climb and provide breathtaking views of Indiana’s forest lands.
The State of Indiana began to build fire outlook towers in 1930. However, the State of Indiana faced a problem; its land had not been completely mapped topographically. This made it especially difficult to uncover the highest elevation points at which to place the towers. Luckily, the state overcame this issue and 33 towers were in full operation by 1952.
The Indiana fire towers were designed so that the watchman could see every possible vantage point of the forest to detect wildfires. Although mostly defunct of their original purpose now, some are still standing and provide awesome views!
Keep reading to see discover all of the Indiana fire towers still standing today! Most of the towers are open to the public to climb and enjoy. However, keep in mind that some are closed for safety reasons.
A landmark attraction of the Clark State Forest, the Henryville Tower was built around 1930. The iconic tower overlooks Clark, Floyd, Washington, and Scott counties. The warden originally protected 100,000 acres of forest from this outlook. Read More.
Take the climb up 9 flights of stairs to reach the top of the 100 foot Ferdinand Tower. One of the most stunning fire towers in Indiana, it is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. Read More.
The O’Bannon Woods Tower has some interesting history. First, it has not always resided in its current location. It was originally located at the Harrison Crawford State Forest. Built there in 1941, it replaced a tower that was coincidentally damaged by fire! Read More.
The Skyline Drive Lookout Tower is located inside of the Jackson-Washington State Forest. One of the first fire towers built in Indiana, it stopped operating for official use in the 1970s. It is currently managed by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources as a viewing site for the public. Read More.
You will find the newly renovated Mason Ridge Fire Tower between Bloomington and Martinsville. It holds some history as it was of big use in late 1964. That fall, the Morgan Monroe State Forest experienced one of its worst fire seasons on record. Dennis Goen, the man who manned the post that year, is credited as helping to stop much of the fires. Read More.
The McCormick Tower may only be 86 feet tall, but it has an elevation of 770 feet! Constructed in 1935, it was active until 1967 and is now one of the most popular attractions of McCormick’s Creek State Park. Read More.
Overlooking the Patoka River Valley, the Hartwell Tower is sure to take your breath away. It is estimated that the tower was built in 1939. Read More.
If you are really feeling adventurous, take the quarter-mile trail to reach the charming Winamac Fire Tower. The 82-year-old structure stands 90 feet off the ground and has an elevation of 756 feet. Read More.
You will find this homely fire tower along the southern border of Indiana. At 120 feet, it is one of the largest towers that the Civilian Conservation Corps constructed in the state. Read More.
The Ouabache Tower soars over the State Park at just around 100 feet. Repairs were made in the spring of 2018 to restore the tower to like-new condition. Incredibly, the $75,000 renovation cost was completely funded by volunteers in nine months! Read More.
The last standing fire tower of nine in the Hoosier National Forest, the Hickory Ridge tower was originally built in the 1930s to watch over a fledgling forest. The topography of the land during this time would have revealed farm land, rural homes, and a very sparse patch of trees. Today, the Hickory Ridge tower stands tall amongst an astonishing group of trees! Read More.
This 75-foot tower in Brown County is quite unique. Lilly Lookout was donated to IU by the Lilly Family (Eli Lilly Pharmaceuticals) in 1942. It currently serves as a radio communications and public observation tower. Read More.
The Willow Valley Tower stands 100 feet tall in the forested hills of Southern Indiana. Active until 1976, it is still maintained as an emergency lookout. A public observation deck is located about 2/3 of the way up the tower. Read More.