Fire Lookouts I've Loved
Some of my favorites in Oregon and California. All of these are reservable with patience and a little luck.
- •Pickett ButteThis is the first lookout I ever stayed in, completely hooked me. It's still a working lookout in the summer because it's surrounded by active timber land. It's reservable in the fall through early spring and usually pretty easy to get. Most Oregon lookouts have propane fueled kitchens (including a mini fridge).
- •Timber ButteA very sweet little vacation rental, it's no longer a working lookout so all of the fire spotting equipment has been removed to fit a larger double bed and kitchen equipment. Fantastic central Cascades mountain views from this one and a large flat adjacent area that would fit some friends camping in tents.
- •Bald ButteOne of my all time favorites in Eastern Oregon, 360 views forever, days whiled away watching hawks and buzzards ride the updrafts at eye level. Really feels like you're on top of the world.
- •Tamarack Lookout CabinA small utilitarian caretakers cabin next to an old style metal tower lookout that you can climb but not get inside of. The mice in the cabin's attic kept us up all night but the real attraction here are the views of the John Day River valley.
- •Lake O' The WoodsOne of the few lookouts equipped with solar panels on the roof, also one of the more harrowing roads I've driven. On a clear day you can see the Pacific though.
- •Fall MountainAnother mid-height tower lookout like Lake O The Woods, this is the only lookout I've ever stayed at that had electricity thanks to the adjacent communications/TV relay towers. The mountain is relatively flat on top so there's lots of hiking to do around this one.
- •Hirz MountainThe first of three lookouts my brother and I visited last summer in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, very close to Redding and with great views of the incredible shrinking Shasta Lake. Pretty weird vibes here - the drive in is a painfully slow and rocky 5 mile rutted road followed by an insanely steep 1/4 mile foot climb up to the lookout. We arrived to find an unsettling note saying that car prowlers were active in the area, mind boggling given the remoteness.
- •Girard RidgeClassic California wooden tower lookout, mesmerizing views of Castle Crags. This one is so easy to get to, only about 10 minutes up a well maintained road off of I-5. The downside is that you can hear some highway noise. Still, that view...
- •Little Mt. HoffmanMy all time favorite lookout. Beautiful drive, great swimming lakes nearby and stunning 360 views. We had a harrowing night here on account of thunderstorms rolling through, we could watch the lighting fires being started in the valleys all around and saw them burn through the night. Nothing quite like being in a glass box covered in lightning rods during a storm like that.