Round Mountain Lookout

 


Click on the lookout to go inside
The photo is a little dark due to a thunderstorm having just passed over.  Although the storm was accompanied with a lot of precipitation Roger still reported one smoke while I was there.

Administrative agency:  Deschutes NF
Staffing status: 
one of the lookouts in Oregon with a long history of staffing, Round Mountain may have been staffed every year since it was built, it continues to be staffed every year
Elevation: 
5900ft
Structure: 
1933 L-4 cab, somewhat recently modified with large single pane windows and a larger catwalk, many items such as the original door still remain
Access: 
several good quality routes are available from Highway 97, coming from La Pine may be the most direct, pavement is present a good amount of the way, the roads are signed with road numbers in most locations, the road switches to gravel around 10 miles from the lookout, access becomes a little unclear in the area of the turnoff to the lookout road, during my visit it was not signed very well, watch for the old phone like hanging on the trees and then take that road for a short distance to the lookout road which is signed with the correct road number, a gate is present around 1 1/2 miles from the lookout, however it will likely be opened during fire season, when you reach the lookout you will notice a nice walkway to the lookout from the parking area
Road conditions: 
the gravel road is in pretty good condition although some wash-boarding is present, the road to the lookout is about two miles in length and is mainly dirt with some natural rock, despite this it should be usable by most vehicles
Interior: 
the interior contains a propane heater, stove, refrigerator, and several propane lights, a bed, table, shelves, and counter are also present, the windows have been replaced with large single pane windows making for much better viewing
Other structures on summit: 
a permanently mounted propane tank, a water tank, a weather box, and a RAWS sit near the tower, click here to see the weather conditions on Round Mountain (this links to a National Weather Service page), a small building also sits under the catwalk
Electric power source: 
several smaller solar panels are present for the lookout loads, the RAWS station also has at least one solar panel mounted on it
Other:
 although hard to see in the photos below, Round Mountain sits on a large rock about the size of the lookout, until the early 1990s the single wire phone line was still connected and used, this practice ended when some of the line was melted by a lightening strike, as well as the phone company no longer wanting to deal with the outdated system, still many pieces of the phone line can be seen along the road, the lookout has a larger than normal catwalk as well as some nice steps from the tower to the parking area, the traditional shutter supports have been replaced with rather non-historic pieces of pipe although this does create less blind spots when using the fire finder, views of the surrounding forest and mountains are nice, even some buildings in town are visible

Roger the lookout may very well be the most experienced lookout in Oregon with well over 30 years atop Round Mountain, most of them consecutive, in addition to that he also has some firefighting experience, he is a friendly guy making for a great visit to this lookout

Visited:  Dominic Luebbers August 2002


the lookout from the RAWS station area



 



 


Round Mountain from the parking area

 

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All content copyright Dominic Luebbers
Email: dominic@forestlookout.com