Washington County Highpoint Trip Report

one area (1,050+ feet)

Date: July 23, 2006
Author: John Wiley, Jr.

Exit I-65 at Scottsburg (Exit 29) and take IN-56 west for 12 miles. During this drive you will notice a significant north/south ridge in front of you. This is the Knobstone Escarpment, and it represents a significant topographic break in Indiana as more resistant Mississippian age bedrock emerges from the landscape.

You will climb through this escarpment and an associated road cut less than half a mile before turning off of SR-56. After reaching the top of the escarpment look left for Old IN-56. Take this hard left half a mile to Fire Tower Road. In the distance to your right you will see the highpoint, its lookout tower, and its apparently new communications tower. This new tower is quite tall and can easily be seen from the highway and during the night.

After turning right onto Fire Tower Rd., which is now paved, drive another half mile to the sharp right in the road and pull off on the left. The relatively steep (but passable 2WD) gravel road to the left leads to the highpoint.

When I visited this highpoint, the gate across the access road to the towers was open and the only "No Trespassing" sign indicated a private residence to the right. My wife and I walked the tenth of a mile and about 75 feet elevation gain up the road to the top and were rewarded with a northern view across Washington county.

The north slope of the highpoint has been recently timbered and no longer obscures the view. The lookout tower now has its lowest steps, but it is surrounded by a new fence associated with the communications tower. The lookout tower does appear to occupy the highest ground, but we walked all over the hilltop anyway to make sure. The lookout tower is more sturdy than many I have climbed, and from the top there is a nearly 360 view even in the summer that makes this one of the better county highpoints in the area.

Return the way you came or continue on Fire Tower Road back to IN-56 toward Salem, Indiana.