Montana Camping, Nature September 06, 2022
6 Mountain Lookouts/Fire Towers In Montana Where You Can Stay Overnight And Feel A Million Miles Away From It All
In the 1930s, the government began a project of creating a network of lookout cabins throughout the western part of the country to help the Forest Service identify wildfires more quickly. While there are still a few that are active, most were decommissioned by 1990. Today, they’re a unique place for adventure seekers and nature lovers to spend a night or two, enjoying incredible views in complete solitude. Now, these towers may lack the modern conveniences of running water and electricity (you really will be “roughing it”) but what you lack in modern comfort, you gain in 360-degree views of some of the most stunning scenery in Montana. Here are some of our favorite fire lookouts in Montana where you can stay overnight.
Yaak Mountain Lookout
Yaak Mountain Lookout, NF-4407, Troy, MT 59935, USA
Perched 45 feet high in the sky, this rustic retreat provides the bare essentials, but maximum views. There is no electricity or water, but there is an outhouse nearby. The lookout can sleep up to four people, just remember to bring your own bedding and cooking gear. When the views are this awe-inspiring, you won’t even miss those modern-day conveniences.
Big Creek Baldy Lookout
Big Creek Baldy Lookout, 12557 MT-37, Libby, MT 59923, USA
The views of the Kootenai National Forest from this lookout will leave you speechless. The 225-square-foot cabin stands 52 feet tall and is completely encircled by a catwalk, so you can walk around the entire perimeter catching incredible views with every step. The cabin can sleep four and includes propane lights, a two-burner cooktop, a heater, and propane so you can heat up meals.
Cougar Peak Lookout
National Forest Development Road 403, NF-403, Montana 59873, USA
Located near Thompson Falls, this unique lookout features a fabulous view of the river valley, the Cabinet Mountains, and the Couer d’Alene Mountains. This is the perfect lookout for anyone not able to climb the stairs found at most lookouts, since this one isn’t elevated, but still grants some gorgeous views!
Double Arrow Lookout
Double Arrow Lookout, Montana 59868, USA
You’ll have a mesmerizing view of the Swan Mountains and Seeley Valley from this lookout. This is one of the few lookouts that does have electricity, and when the view is this enchanting, you probably won’t mind standing over the stove cooking up your favorite meal.
Hornet Creek Road, Hornet Crk Rd, Montana 59928, USA
On a clear day, you’ll have a front-row seat to see Glacier National Park and Kintla Lake from this lookout. If you’re lucky, you might even catch the Northern lights! There is a one-mile hike from the trailhead/parking area to reach this lookout, but we promise…the views are worth it.
Up Up Lookout
Up Up Lookout, Montana 59867, USA
Up, up we go! This lookout sits 40 feet tall on a rock pinnacle in the Bitterroot Mountains in western Montana. There’s a campfire ring and a picnic table at the base, but keep in mind there are no cooking facilities or refrigeration at this lookout, so just like the other lookouts, you’ll need to bring your own cooking equipment, fuel, and water. With views like this, you won’t even mind getting back to the basics. In fact, you may never want to leave!
All bookings go through
recreation.gov, and links to each lookout are listed above. For even more camping adventures, check out these luxury cabins in Montana. Address: Yaak Mountain Lookout, NF-4407, Troy, MT 59935, USA Address: Big Creek Baldy Lookout, 12557 MT-37, Libby, MT 59923, USA Address: National Forest Development Road 403, NF-403, Montana 59873, USA Address: Double Arrow Lookout, Montana 59868, USA Address: Hornet Creek Road, Hornet Crk Rd, Montana 59928, USA Address: Up Up Lookout, Montana 59867, USA