Old Round Top cabin

John Polhamus

Round Top cabin, 1953

The tower base store room houses the park repeater the electrical and water systems for the residence and the winter shutters. The typical season is the second week in May through the end of September.

Getting there: Round Top is not accessible to the public on a routine basis.

If you have corrections to the cabin information on this page, or photos of the Round Top cabin that was torn down prior to the building of the new tower in 2002, please contact us.

Jean Polhamus's book about her Round Top experiences, Guarding Dinosaur, is available from Lulu.com.

Visit the National Historic Lookout entry for Round Top, and read the related Vernal Express story.

Round Top Mountain Lookout

Dinosaur National Park

Elevation: 8575

Status: Active


Original: Year Built - ?

Structure Type: Cabin or trailer?


Second Structure: Year Built - 1951 or 1952

Structure Type: Wood 8'x10' cabin


Third Structure: Year Built - 1954-57

Structure Type: Wood tower, 8'x8' by 16' tall


Current: Year Built - 2002

Structure Type: Current - Metal, 13'x13' by 20' tall with mobile-home type ground cabin

Google Map

John and Jean Polhamus staffed the lookout in 1953. There was no tower, just a cabin. According to Mrs. Polhamus, "Behind the cabin and some distance away were the remains of the previous cabin which had been blown apart by the wind... We could see about a hundred miles, I imagine, in all directions and simply stood in front of the cabin and looked! ... We had to estimate locations... The weather station was east of the cabin (to the left in the picture) a few feet and the derrick for the wind charger was behind the cabin. Everything was held down by piles of rocks, but the cabin was bolted to the rock. Only someone who has been there can believe the power of the wind on Round Top! ...There were a number of windows in the cabin, and the door faced the cliff. We had a cast iron cookstove, and hauled water from Robinson Draw where there was a well."

Jean Polhamus described the cabin as approx. 8' x 10', bolted to the rock, clad in green roll roofing as shown in the photo. She is standing in the door in the photo.

Round Top Lookout has been in continual use since its original construction.

Distant view of Round Top

Daniel Hazen

Round Top in the distance, 2008

Round Top Tower

Daniel Hazen

Round Top Tower, 2008