Home Tiny House Projects Cabin Modeled After Fire Tower

Cabin Modeled After Fire Tower

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Judith Mountain Cabin

I have to thank EJ again for sending me another great link to a very cool project. It’s a cabin in the mountains of Montana modeled after an old forest service fire tower. To make it look like it was built in 1939 a lot of recycled material was used, corrugated metal roofing, locally sourced rock, and timbers from an 80 year old trestle bridge that had been recently dismantled. It was designed by architect Jeff Shelden, A.I.A. and is anĀ AIA Merit Award Winner.

The lower level is the functional level and provides sleeping space, and a place to cook and wash up. The upper level is the main living area and provides the view and connection with the surrounding mountains. A small photovoltaic array provides electricity for lights, well pump, stereo and television. The composting toilet is in a separate nearby structure. A wood fired hot tub is also just outside the cabin.

Judith Mountain Cabin - Exterior Judith Mountain Cabin - kitchen Judith Mountain Cabin - table Judith Mountain Cabin - interior Judith Mountain Cabin - in snow Judith Mountain Cabin - from below





Design and photo credit Jeff Shelden, A.I.A.


  1. Jeff! I love that little house. I’ve seen photos of it here and there but never knew the story. Thanks for adding comments to the flickr gallery too. If you have any more info you want to share feel free to contact me directly.


  2. If you like this concept, some of the original Forest Service blueprints are available in pdf format for more inspiration. Go here:

    There’s also a company somewhere that sells old lookout and lookout cabin plans; there were quite a few different versions. Though as the disclaimer at the above site states, they may not meet current structural codes.

  3. This design might work nice at my Southern Lake Champlain as I look to replace existing wooden cottages that get wet about every 3 years… when water gets high on much of the waterfront.

    • Hi Phil,

      I don’t think the fire tower cabin plans are available for sale, but you could email the architect… who knows.

      There are many places that sell cabin plans… I’ve got a good list of links on the website under plans.

    • Travis, where did you get the plans to build this. I want to put up something similar up in Elk County, Pa. Did you build it yourself or did you use a contractor? You can contact me at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

      • I would love to be able to speak with you via phone or email as I am nearing my build of similar design. Please let me know if you would be willing to chat.

  4. I am also looking at this type of structure and have expereince building climbing towers and ziplines but wondering if folks have any plans that I can purchase to help with cost. Would love to discuss and share some ideas.
    Thanks for such great comments.

  5. Great article and photos! I bought my land a couple of years ago and this is the type house I was looking for. The land is 20 acres on top of one of the tallest peaks in western North Carolina, just inside the Tennessee/North Carolina line. The property sits at an elevation of just over 5300 feet, is bordered on three sides by Forest Service property, and has a full 360 degree view of miles and miles of lower peaks and valleys. I was also very impressed with the tower house built by Travis in WV, and would love to see the plans for either of these houses.

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