This Lookout Tower Has a Cult Following, Here's How to Stay There for Free

The Thorny Mountain Fire Tower usually books out a full year in advance.

The Thorny Mountain Fire Tower is one of West Virginia's most iconic attractions—so much so that it is typically booked out a year in advance for its May through October availability. The 65-foot tower is perched above the tree line at Seneca State Forest, and has 360-degree views of the forest. It's such an out-of-the-box stay (despite being very box-shaped) that it landed on National Geographic’s list of most unique stays in 2023.

But, you don't necessarily have to start planning a trip for next year in order to get a chance to stay. West Virginia State Parks is offering the chance to win a one-night stay at the tower, totally for free. To enter this sweepstakes, you just need to book a camping stay between July 26 and December 31, 2023 at By doing so, you'll be automatically entered into the contest. You just need to make the booking by August 30.

The giveaway stays will be valid for a stay between September 12 through 14, 2023. The winners will be announced on August 31, 2023. You can learn more about the fire tower, which was built in the 1920s, and the contest at

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Opheli Garcia Lawler is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @opheligarcia and Instagram @opheligarcia.