Thursday, March 17, 2016

You Should...Stay in a Fire Lookout!

Anyone who has read this blog for awhile knows that I love fire lookouts.  There's something about a tower or cabin perched on top of a mountain, especially one that has been there for 50 years or so, surviving harsh winters and threatened by wildfires, but still surviving.  I stay in them whenever I can.
McGuire Mountain Lookout, available to rent in Montana
I've even had some opportunities to work in them, filling in for the regular fire watchers.  I've spotted new fires and called them in, as well as monitoring ongoing ones.
One of the lookouts where I've worked
If you live in the West, or visit a mountain state, you can rent a fire lookout and spend the night on top of a mountain, just you and the stars!
Lookout sunset
Fire lookouts can be rented in California, Idaho, Montana, Colorado, Oregon, Wyoming, and Washington. Fees range from $25 to $50 a night.  You'll have to bring food, water, cooking supplies and bedding; basically all backpacking supplies except the tent.  Some lookouts require a short hike, but you can drive to a lot of them.
Inside of Garver Mountain Lookout, Montana
What to do while you're there? Hike nearby trails.  Find the water source (there usually is one) and think about past lookouts having to haul their drinking water up the hill (it's always up hill).  Read a book, drink tea, look for fires! At night, watch the stars and imagine what it would be like to live there all summer.  If you're lucky, a storm might roll in.  Storms are amazing from fire lookouts!
Brrr! But it was beautiful up there.
Anyone can stay in a hotel.  Why not try something different?  You won't regret it.

You can rent a fire lookout up to 180 days in advance here. 


  1. Something I definitely need to do! Thanks for the info and link.

    P.S. I think I accidentally deleted your most recent comment on my blog....I though I hit "publish" but it didn't appear. I'm so sorry!

    1. There's some great lookouts to rent in Oregon. Do it!!!

  2. Great post! Lots of room for dreaming here. I will copy it for a friend who really, really wants to stay in a lookout in the West.

    1. If they want a weekend, book early. During the week is easier.

    2. Is there a way to sort by "trail access" or "road access" or do you need to check out each one?

    3. No, it's probably better just to narrow it down to a location. But 95% of them you can drive to.

    4. Wow, I didn't know that...I suppose that "driveable" ones get more visitors???

  3. That looks sooo cool! Add that to my list of 'must do'


I try to answer all comments, so comment away!