In 1916, West Virginia established a system of fire towers that were located on various mountain peaks throughout the state. By utilizing a chart and telephone system, employees were able to quickly pinpoint forest fire locations that helped decrease response times.
The earliest towers were wooden structures. They were later replaced with steel or stone structures. A few survived the times and now stand as unique tourist attractions.
The Pinnacle Knob fire tower property fell into disuse after World War II, but found a second life as a home for three communications towers. The second fire tower foundation now serves as a scenic overlook with an elevation well over 3,000 feet.
Know Before You Go
The Pinnacle fire tower is 65 miles east of Grafton, WV on Route 50, the Northwest Turnpike. It's around 22 miles west of Keyser, WV, via Route 220/ Route 972/ Route 50 West.
Visitors will need to turn off Route 50 onto Route 42, also known as Elk Garden Highway. After traveling 2.2 miles, turn right onto Pinnacle Road/County Road 4. Continue for 4.2 miles, then turn right onto South Tower Road.
A large Allegheny Wildlife Management Area sign marks the beginning of South Tower Road. Travel 0.7 miles, then turn right. Travel another 0.2 miles to reach Pinnacle Knob's summit.
Daylight visiting hours are free of charge. No overnight stays. A heavy pipe gate is locked at nightfall to close the summit to visitors. The rocks surrounding the fire tower are full of rattlesnakes during the warm weather months.