Directions: From Parsons travel approximately 7 miles north
(east) on 219N. Turn right on Forest Road 18. Travel 0.4 miles
and stay to the right at the Y intersection. This is FR 717. Continue
on FR 717 1.6 miles to the parking lot below the tower.
Season: Open yearly, however,
in the winter months the tower is accessible by x-country skis
or snowshoes only. FR 717 is not maintained in the winter months.
Facilities: The fire tower
sits on the mountain top. Climb the 133 steps for breathtaking
views. Although the cabin is closed to the public, you are welcome
to climb to just below the cabin structure.
Views: Breathtaking views
of the town of Parsons, Blackwater Canyon, Otter Creek Wilderness,
Canaan Mountain, the Cheat River watershed, and even the Mount
Storm Power station can all be seen from the tower heights.
Picnic Area: There is a small
family picnic area with 3 tables, garbage cans, and a vault
toilet located 0.1 miles below the tower parking lot.
Driving FR 18: This drive is recommended
for the truly hardy folks who are traveling with a high clearance
vehicle and who don't mind a rough dirt road. The drive accesses
trails and scenic views overlooking the Blackwater Canyon area.
Big Run Overlook: This scenic
overlook is located approximately 1.5 miles from the junction
of FR 717 and FR 18. The views are spectacular, but the road
to get there is extremely rough and passenger cars are not recommended
(see above Driving FR 18).
Hiking/mountain biking: There
are several trails in the area.
Flansler Trail #118. Which is
1mile in length and begins at the picnic sites below the tower.
Canyon Rim Trail # 117 Is 3 miles
in length and begins 0.1 miles below the picnic area.
Limerock Trail # 142 Is 4.1 miles
in length and located along FR 18.
Fees: There are no fees
are not accepted at this site.
Notes: Olson Tower is dedicated
in honor of Ernst B, Olson in appreciation of his 28 years of
devoted service in forest fire control and conservations programs
on the Monongahela National Forest.