Montana Outdoors

February 20, 2008

Two lookouts

For me, old lookout towers hold a sort of mystique, especially in winter, and I was pleased that from the highest point of yesterday’s hike it was possible to take long range photos of two different ones. At a range of eight miles, Big Hole Lookout was visible atop Big Hole Peak (in the Cabinet mountains).

Big Hole Lookout

In August 2007, in the smoke of the Chippy Creek fire, I took this close-up photo of the building,

Big Hole lookout tower

and this one was taken while ascending the trail on the same day.

Big Hole Lookout

About 30º to the left of Big Hole, the Eddy Mountain tower sits cold and white at eleven miles away atop Eddy Peak (in the Coeur d’Alene mountains).

Eddy Peak

Both are cold and white and lonely this time of year. Snowmobiles are not permitted in either place and avalanche danger is high on the slopes below them, prohibiting even snow shoe travel. I felt fortunate to be able to approach them with the camera lens.


  1. too cold and too white for me!! but very beautiful on my screen


    Comment by silken — February 20, 2008 @ 9:40 pm

  2. And right now the water in the Gulf would be cold to me! Isn’t it interesting how we adapt?


    Comment by montucky — February 20, 2008 @ 9:46 pm

  3. The towers really do look cold and lonely perched on top of those peaks, but they sure do have some magnificent scenery to watch over.


    Comment by AK_Adventurer — February 20, 2008 @ 9:55 pm

  4. Yes, the views from there are magnificent, winter or summer, for both scenery and wildlife. We are having an average amount of snow this year for the first time in ten years, and enjoying every bit of it!


    Comment by montucky — February 20, 2008 @ 11:27 pm

  5. Those lookout stations are so neat. I heard that in the Lolo National Forest they have them equipped for rentals (if you want to do it the old fashioned camping way) The ones over here are on stilts. Once again gorgeous shots Montucky! My favorite is the way you composed the lookout tower. Very cool.


    Comment by aullori — February 21, 2008 @ 12:19 am

  6. The third shot is my favorite, but all of them look enticing.


    Comment by Pinhole — February 21, 2008 @ 8:47 am

  7. They do have a couple of the towers that they rent out, but not these. I would think the first one would be a great candidate because it’s in really good shape (if you would raise the shutters, all of the original panes of glass are still intact), but it’s a pretty good hike up to it, and the ones they rent are usually ones that have roads to them. The last one is actually still in use during the fire season.

    Many of the buildings are on towers, but others, like the on at Big Hole really don’t need a tower. Just beyond the building in the second photo there is about six feet of rock, then a 500 foot drop (maybe another reason why they don’t rent it out).


    Comment by montucky — February 21, 2008 @ 9:01 am

  8. Pinhole,

    That third shot shows what the country looks like around that site. It’s a pretty awesome hike and hard to photograph until you get right on top because of the trees. It’s right on the edge of some really wild country too: just to the east is the TeePee-Spring Creek roadless area that covers over 15 miles to the next road. It must have been a great experience to man that one back in the 30’s and 40’s!


    Comment by montucky — February 21, 2008 @ 9:10 am

  9. Wonderful shots Terry, do you think I could take up residence in that cabin this coming summer, what a view that would be every morning 🙂


    Comment by Bernie Kasper — February 21, 2008 @ 6:14 pm

  10. You probably could, Bernie! You would have to evict a pack rat who has made a bit of a mess in there though. You know, the interior of that cabin has all of it’s furniture intact, although the stove needs some repair and the whole thing needs to be cleaned, but it really isn’t all that bad, considering. Staying there would sure make you want to get up in the morning!


    Comment by montucky — February 21, 2008 @ 7:16 pm

  11. Solitude, with a view. Hmmm.


    Comment by barbara — February 22, 2008 @ 10:48 am

  12. Not a bad spot to visit for awhile, especially after reading the news. The hard part is coming back down. I like to make the hike to Big Hole peak twice a year, once in early summer and again in the fall during grouse season.


    Comment by montucky — February 22, 2008 @ 11:19 am

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