Pole Mountain Fire Lookout
US 273, CA 11
Pole Mountain Lookout -2013

Pole Mountain Lookout -2013 - courtesy of The Press Democrat

Lookout Details

Registry Numbers US 273, CA 11 (view other lookouts in United States, California)
Date Registered June 4, 1998
Nominated by Pole Mountain Fire Lookout, Inc.
Location Pole Mountain–Jenner Headlands Recreational Complex
Sonoma County, California
Coordinates N 38° 30.310' W 123° 07.191' (view using Google Maps)
N 38° 30' 19" W 123° 07' 11"
N 38.505160° W 123.119855°
Elevation 2,139 ft (652 m)
Built 1967
Administered by Pole Mountain Fire Lookout, Inc.
Cooperators Sonoma Land Trust


As in the rest of the nation, fire lookouts are on the wane in California. But in the hills west of Sonoma County, a community-sponsored lookout atop Pole Mountain is going strong. With only two state towers in the county, the citizens of Cazadero knew that additional detection was needed. They pooled their efforts, constructed and staffed their own lookout on Red Oat Mountain in 1967. In 1981 they moved their tower to a better site at Pole Mountain. It is now the only active lookout in the county, and has been financed by donations and an annual breakfast held in April.

The Pole Mountain site, is a 238 acre 2014 acquisition of the Sonoma Land Trust and allows for the ongoing operation of the lookout.

The structure was previously located at Red Oat Mountain and relocated to Pole Mountain in 1981.

Pole Mountain Lookout, Inc is raising funds to replace the current structure with a modern lookout building. Contact them or donate here: https://polemountainlookout.org/



Change Basemap


Photo courtesy of The Press Democrat

Photo courtesy of The Press Democrat


1998 - courtesy of The Press Democrat

Visit Reports

October 29, 2009: Jack Piccinini


Needs paint? No Response
Shutters OK? Yes
Condition of wood OK? Yes
Stairs OK? Yes
Glass intact? Yes
Good condition? Yes
Comments: This is a staffed lookout and is well maintained by the community organization that funds and manages it.

Electronics and Enroachments

Are electronic sites enroaching on tower? No
Comments: The lookout provides great views into the remote coastal hills of Sonoma County and also has good views into neighboring Lake, Marin and Mendocino Counties. It does look into the Santa Rosa Basis as well as into parts of the SF Bay Area, however, those views are often obscured by haze. The cab is very small by most standards but serves well nonetheless.

Access and Signs

NHLR sign posted? No
Directions to tower signed? No
Comments? Unfortunately this site is on private property including all access to the tower, thus, general public visits need to be arranged through Cal Fire personnel or Pole Mountain association reps. I was able to visit the lookout with retired CDF BC Ed Poe who, in 1981, was the key person, responsible for moving the tower to it’s current location and who also continues to serve as a Board Member on the Pole Mt. Lookout association.


Staffed? Yes
Seasonal staffing is funded and managed by the Association and CAL Fire assists in the day to day management and support of the lookout in the form of radios and other equipment. The lookout communicate and reports smokes and weather directly to the CAL Fire's St. Helena ECC. Pole Mountain had 7 “first reports” this past fire season!

Opportunities for Volunteer Support

Volunteers staffing opportunities? Yes
Volunteer maintenance opportunities? Yes