Olson Tower

It was such a gorgeous day in the hills yesterday that we just had to get outside. Unfortunately, I was a bit too lazy to put the energy into researching a long hike or getting my butt out on a trail to do 5 miles. So, we decided to head up to Tucker County to visit Olson Tower and stop by Hellbender Burritos for lunch.

The view from Olson Tower is our #2 best view in the area. We've been there several times and are always amazed by the gorgeous view. To get there, take Rt. 219 past Parsons toward Thomas. Before you get to Tucker County High School, there will be a forest road hidden on the right-hand side of the road. It's easy to miss it going north on Rt. 219, but don't worry if you miss it. Turn around at the high school, and you'll see it easily coming back the other direction. Stay straight on the forest road for about 3 miles. The road will dead-end at Olson Tower.

Not many people know about Olson, so we were shocked when we got to Olson, and there were people there! We've never seen other people there! There were actually 2 groups of people. We waited in LTT until the crowd thinned out. The first group came down loudly and sped off noisily in their vehicle. Don't they know you're supposed to be awed to silence by the beauty of nature? C'mon people! Anyway, while we waited for them to leave, we listened to the truck next to us. There was a Ham radio inside, and two gentleman were communicating about a tower. Hmm, we're at a tower; were they talking about Olson? When we got out of LTT, we noticed that the other group had actually unlocked the hatch going into the cabin at the top of the tower. I have been intrigued by this cabin every time we've gone to Olson. It is beyond a locked-hatch door; the highest point of the tower is the cabin, but we've never been able to access it. Olson was a former fire tower. Years ago, before the forest service had helicopters, they would pay people to camp out in these towers to keep watch out for forest fires. They would live in the little cabin/room on top of the tower for weeks. So, I've always wanted to go inside the cabin at Olson Tower to see how big it was. Well, these nice gentleman were Ham radio operators who are part of an association that has antennas on the tower. They were up there to do repairs on their equipment. They were gracious enough to let Scott and I come into the cabin, while they were out on the roof of the cabin working on their antennas. Wow, the cabin was so small! It had windows on every side and was probably 7 feet by 6 feet. Unfortunately, some of the windows were busted out and glass was everywhere. But it was still a great, rare experience to see what the cabin was like and what the view was like from up there. A special thank you to the Ham radio operators for being generous enough to let us see the cabin.

On our way down the tower, I overheard the Ham radio operators talking about how the forest service is planning changes to the tower. When we got to the bottom, we asked them what they were talking about. Supposedly the forest service a few months ago began plans to take out the tower's bottom staircases. Thus, you would no longer be able to climb the tower and see the absolute best view in the area. Honestly, it would not surprise me if these happens. At one time there were pit-toilets and picnic tables at Olson. It was a nice place to take a family picnic. Now, it's overgrown and the first mile of the forest road getting there has some potholes. The whole place has an air of neglect. That being said, it probably will take at least a year for the stair removal to happen since it is the government and there's lots of red-tape. But I think it will happen. So do yourself a favor and grab your camera and go see the view from Olson Tower before it's no longer accessible.


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