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Mount Coolidge Fire Tower

Mount Coolidge Fire Tower

At 6,023 feet Mount Coolidge is the highest point in the central part of Custer State Park. This historic Fire Tower was one of the last projects completed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the late 1930s.

The Mount Coolidge Fire Tower is still actively used today as a fire lookout and dispatch center for Custer State Park operations. A 1.2 mile gravel road leads to the summit where visitors can take in a panoramic view of the surrounding Black Hills. Witness sites such as Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, the Needles and, on a clear day, the Badlands some 60 miles to the east.

Interpretative exhibits on the outside deck tell the story of the Galena Fire in 1988 that burned approximately 17,000 acres in the park.

Location

Mount Coolidge is located 3 miles south of US Highway 16A along SD Highway 87

Open

If the gate at the base of the Mountain is open, visitors may proceed to the top.

The road leading to Mount Coolidge is generally open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Memorial Day into late September.

Restrictions

The road to the top of the Mountain is gravel and very narrow.Oversized vehicles and campers are not allowed.

History

The original mountain was called Sheep Mountain.

1923

A log tower and caretaker's quarters were built and the mountain was renamed Lookout Moutain.

1927

The mountain was renamed yet again and called Mount Coolidge.

1939

The Civilian Conservation Corps built a stone lookout tower and caretaker's quarters that replaced the log stuctures.