Those familiar with the west know how important, and often detrimental, wildfires can be. Arid environments, meshed with woodlands, and monsoons; create this recipe for huge tracks to be set alight! How we handle, and what we know and think of these wildfires, has changed; and so has how we look for them. In the early 20th century, the west was still mighty inaccessible, and transporting construction materials, knowledgeable builders, and getting them all where they needed to be was prohibitive. Causing local agencies to be a might more creative when addressing their needs. Their need? Lookout towers, to identify the location and direction of wildfires. The solution, finding massive Ponderosa Pine trees in geographically prominent locations, and placing posts among their branches. This method served the Kaibab National Forest from Williams, to the South Rim of Grand Canyon and it’s North Rim.
Presently, all the trees used at lookout towers are recorded in the National Registrar of Historic Places, but here’s a list of all of them, and their coordinates:
Cooper Ridge Lookout Tree, 36°44′48″N 112°13′5″W
Corral Lake Lookout Tree, 36°36′18″N 112°15′58″W
Fracas Lookout Tree, 36°39′39″N 112°16′16″W
Grandview Lookout Tree, 35°55′58″N 111°58′44″W
Hull Tank Lookout Tree, 35°56′25″N 111°57′28″W
Little Mountain Lookout Tree, 36°35′22″N 112°21′30″W
Summit Mountain Lookout Tree, 35°7′51″N 112°7′56″W
Tater Point Lookout Tree, 36°32′22″N 112°6′5″W
Telephone Hill Lookout Tree, 36°32′50″N 112°10′33″W
Tipover Lookout Tree, 36°21′56″N 112°8′19″W
Tusayan Lookout Tree, 35°58′16″N 112°8′11″W
Getting to them requires driving on forest roads, some graded, others less so; and occasionally they can be pretty perilous. Make sure weather and road conditions are favorable; i.e. even graded roads can be muddy after a monsoon. Roads aside, there is also leg work, and searching involved. Even with the coordinates, I’ve only been able to drive within a mile of any one lookout tree. You will have to walk the rest of the way, and look for the largest tree, with a lookout stand in it. Happy hunting, and enjoy the paths you take!