Ash Cave Fire Tower

Ash Cave Fire Tower, built in 1934 in the Hocking State Forest, stands at 80 feet tall and features a 7-foot by 7-foot metal cab built by the Aermotor Company.

In Ohio, the State Forestry Bureau was established by the Ohio General Assembly in 1885. It appropriated $10,000 for the purchase of two forested areas in the southern reaches of the state: Waterloo State Forest in Athens County and Dean State Forest in Lawrence County.

After logging and subsequent fires devastated hills near Portsmouth, the Forestry Bureau established Shawnee State Forest in 1922 and erected its first fire tower there on Copperhead Hill in 1924. Similarly, the Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station began acquiring land in Hocking County in 1924 with the intent to demonstrate the practical value of forestry. The lands at the time were in poor condition because of extensive logging, with the remaining forest stands in poor condition.

A total of 39 fire towers were erected in the state. To supplement the fire towers, the Division of Forestry began using Civil Air Patrol aircraft for fire detection. In 1969, the last of the fire towers was contracted to be built, and three fire stations were completed. Changes in land use and advances in air detection of forest fires resulted in the discontinuation of fire tower use, with the Green Ridge Tower in Pike State Forest the last to be manned.

Ash Cave Fire Tower

Ash Cave Fire Tower


Official Website

From Hocking Hills State Park Visitor Center, head east on OH Route 664 for half a mile. Turn right onto OH Route 374 south and drive for 2.5 miles. At the intersection of OH Route 374 and Chapel Ridge Road, you’ll find a small gravel parking area. Park and hike up to the top of the hill.


Ash Cave Fire Tower Weather

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