Tater Knob Fire Tower

Area Status: Closed
This area is Closed

Tater Knob Closure Map

Note: The stairs leading to and Tater Knob Fire Tower itself itself are closed to all public entry.

The historic Tater Knob Fire Tower in Bath County is closed to the public after an arson fire destroyed the structure on December 3, 2008. The fire burned all of the supporting wood frame of the lookout cab underneath its metal exterior. The tower is no longer safe for visitors. Forest Service officials are uncertain at this time if the structure will be rebuilt.

Tater Knob Fire Tower was the last remaining fire tower on the Daniel Boone National Forest. It was built in 1934 by the Civilian Conservation Corps as a lookout for detecting forest fires. The cab of this 35-ft. tower was home to the lookout operators who staffed it during the fire season. In a space less than 200 square feet, the cab had just enough room for a wood stove, two cots, a cabinet, storage box, small table, and a stool. The all-important alidade, or fire finder, stood in the middle of the room.

The original wooden cab was reconstructed in 1959, reduced to nearly half its original size. The lookouts no longer lived in the tower. Instead, they climbed to the peak of Tater Knob every day of the fire season to watch for smoke. By the mid-1970s, aircraft became the new method for spotting forest fires. The fire towers, including Tater Knob, were abandoned from use.

The tower is currently listed on the National Historic Lookout Register.

Learn more about fire towers by visiting the Forest Fire Lookout Association website.

Cave Run Lake area map


At a Glance

Current Conditions: Tater Knob fire tower is closed due to its destruction by fire. 
Fees None
Restrictions: Closed to visitation due to its destruction by fire. 
Closest Towns: Morehead, KY
Operated By: U.S. Forest Service
Information Center:
Cumberland Ranger District
2375 KY 801 South
Morehead, KY 40351


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