Years ago if you looked high in the sky in the Umatilla National Forest, you could see these special towers from miles away. They served an important purpose back in the day and these towers have a fascinating history. 

These days we have infra-red detection devices and the deployment of airplanes and helicopters, so the once sprawling lookout towers are less utilized today but they still remain.

At the height of the '30s, there were more than 5000 lookout towers scattered throughout the country.

The Pacific Northwest was home to 800 towers with that number declining to under 200 in the '50s.

The towers were maintained by volunteers and forest workers and those that worked in the towers were called "smoke-chasers". Forestry students also would work in the towers and once the tower opened for the season, it stayed open.

The 1950s saw the decline of the lookout towers to roughly a few hundred. One tower volunteer could see roughly 20 miles from any direction of the forest. Back in the day, the towers were vital for spotting forest fires.

Today, the towers that are left serve as scenic vista points for campers and you can also rent for an overnight stay.

Get our free mobile app

Though the towers aren't used today for fire detection, you can still rent them for overnight stays. I bet you can imagine what an amazing view you'll get camping in one.

The Forest Service allows the towers to be rented and you can book a reservation here for a truly unique adventure.

The towers truly stand from a bygone era and remind us all of how life once was.

LOOK: The most expensive weather and climate disasters in recent decades

Stacker ranked the most expensive climate disasters by the billions since 1980 by the total cost of all damages, adjusted for inflation, based on 2021 data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The list starts with Hurricane Sally, which caused $7.3 billion in damages in 2020, and ends with a devastating 2005 hurricane that caused $170 billion in damage and killed at least 1,833 people. Keep reading to discover the 50 of the most expensive climate disasters in recent decades in the U.S.

50 Famous Brands That No Longer Exist