Montana Outdoors

September 18, 2012

Cougar Peak Lookout ~ Views

View from Cougar Peak Lookout


View from Cougar Peak Lookout


View from Cougar Peak Lookout


View from Cougar Peak Lookout

West: the tall peak about in the center is Seven Point Mountain; I hiked to it on August 30.

View from Cougar Peak Lookout

East, looking into the Cube Iron – Silcox Roadless area

View from Cougar Peak Lookout

North: the tall peak with the big rock slides is Graves Peak which was my destination on that day on USFS trail 541.



  1. amazing pictures!


    Comment by Marta @ What Should I Eat For Breakfast Today? — September 19, 2012 @ 2:07 am

  2. Absolutely stunning… It’s wonderful, heartwarming to see that expanse of forested land.


    Comment by FeyGirl — September 19, 2012 @ 5:35 am

    • It is, but those forests are under attack by those who want to “develop our natural resources”. That means building roads and massive logging of the forests. The problem is that with the limited rainfall we have here, it will take perhaps 10 generations for the forest to recover if it ever will.


      Comment by montucky — September 19, 2012 @ 8:28 pm

      • Exactly. Short-sighted doesn’t even begin to cover it… We’re spending beaucoup $$$ to restore parts of the Everglades now, due to such shortsighted “visions” that forever destroyed the habitats and natural order.


        Comment by FeyGirl — September 20, 2012 @ 5:25 am

  3. Are these trails open to traveling on horseback?


    Comment by bearyweather — September 19, 2012 @ 5:45 am

    • Nearly all of the trails that I use are old Forest Service pack trails and they were created for use by pack strings that would resupply the lookouts. They are all open to hiking or horse traffic. Only a few are really unsuitable for horses.


      Comment by montucky — September 19, 2012 @ 8:30 pm

  4. Oh, thank you for these. Stunning views in every direction. I can imagine coffee on the “veranda.” 🙂


    Comment by Teresa Evangeline — September 19, 2012 @ 6:52 am

    • It would be hard to imagine a bad day up there, other than perhaps what we have now, skies full of smoke.


      Comment by montucky — September 19, 2012 @ 8:32 pm

  5. Cougar Peak Lookout is an awesome vista view in every direction. Gorgeous photos of gorgeous forever views! Wow!


    Comment by Anna Surface — September 19, 2012 @ 7:07 am

    • I am thankful for places like that. They provide perspective for the beauty of this part of America.


      Comment by montucky — September 19, 2012 @ 8:37 pm

  6. Very nice.


    Comment by seekraz — September 19, 2012 @ 8:08 am

  7. Beautiful country! You could spend a lifetime hiking that and not even come close to seeing it all.


    Comment by New Hampshire Gardener — September 19, 2012 @ 8:29 am

    • Imagine: there were 639 lookouts built in Montana. I have visited only about 20.


      Comment by montucky — September 19, 2012 @ 8:39 pm

  8. Wow, these just took my breath away!


    Comment by Jo Woolf — September 19, 2012 @ 9:08 am

    • I have seen similar views hundreds of time Jo, and I always feel that way!


      Comment by montucky — September 19, 2012 @ 8:43 pm

  9. I am so glad I found your blog…I really miss Montana. These photos are stunning and truly show the expanse!


    Comment by dhphotosite — September 19, 2012 @ 11:17 am

    • This expanse is the low-traffic part too, which is one reason it appeals to me so much. Lots of wild country out there!


      Comment by montucky — September 19, 2012 @ 8:46 pm

  10. That’s a hell of a place! What’s the altitude up there?

    It must be wondferful to see the views change with the passing seasons and weather systems


    Comment by Finn Holding — September 19, 2012 @ 12:24 pm

    • The lookout is only at 6694 feet. The river is at 2400 feet.

      It is. No two days are exactly the same. Today I hiked a ridge trail about 15 miles from there and found that there are a lot of yellow leaves already and on some hilltops the huckleberry bushes have turned red. Soon there will be the winter’s first coat of snow.


      Comment by montucky — September 19, 2012 @ 8:50 pm

  11. Beautiful!


    Comment by Mama's Empty Nest — September 19, 2012 @ 2:36 pm

    • I’m glad you like to see this part of the country, Mama!


      Comment by montucky — September 19, 2012 @ 8:51 pm

  12. You couldn’t of had a nicer day! It would be so nice to see mountains in every direction. Your photos are wonderful.


    Comment by sandy — September 19, 2012 @ 3:15 pm

    • I too love those views. I consider each visit to a peak like that a celebration.


      Comment by montucky — September 19, 2012 @ 8:53 pm

  13. Fantastic photos!! It is so beautiful there!


    Comment by alskamom — September 19, 2012 @ 4:22 pm

  14. Stunning photos…makes the thought of having to use the outhouse trivial in comparison.


    Comment by Candace — September 19, 2012 @ 9:13 pm

    • “Outhouse phobia” is fairly easy to overcome. We have one that is still functional and it has been very popular with the grand kids for some reason. Perhaps they sense the link to our history.


      Comment by montucky — September 19, 2012 @ 9:40 pm

  15. All nice photos, but the one with the overhang showing really gives the feel of being there!


    Comment by Kim — September 19, 2012 @ 11:20 pm

    • I kept that one because of that. The light was terrible on that side of the cabin. Also that view looks into the Cube Iron – Silcox area.


      Comment by montucky — September 20, 2012 @ 9:07 pm

  16. Superb shots. The like the cloud shadows in 2.3, and 4..


    Comment by Grampy — September 19, 2012 @ 11:32 pm

    • I find those cloud shadows mesmerizing, and of course they keep changing.


      Comment by montucky — September 20, 2012 @ 9:08 pm

  17. You must be in such a great shape to hike all these mountains top ! 🙂 Your photos are breathtaking, soooo beautiful ! I imagine how beautiful the views must be from these heights, your photos are wonderful but to be there for real is so much better. You live in a wonderful place. It reminds me a little when I was living in Saguenay and used to hike in the mountains and had the views of the beautiful fjord there.


    Comment by Inspired and pretty — September 20, 2012 @ 9:02 pm

    • Yes, being there is much better than photos. I wish everyone could! These views are very photogenic. Yesterday I hiked a wonderful high ridge that had great views but they didn’t photograph as well. Perhaps I liked them because I knew the country that I was looking down into. I bet the fjord was beautiful, seen from a mountain top!


      Comment by montucky — September 20, 2012 @ 9:12 pm

  18. Gorgeous! I especially love Your idea to present scenery to all directions. Great post. Thank You.


    Comment by Sartenada — September 20, 2012 @ 11:05 pm

    • Thanks Matti. I’m glad that you liked the views.


      Comment by montucky — September 21, 2012 @ 8:17 pm

  19. amazing! the photos are gorgeous. I bet the hiking was stunning! unbelievable that this is your everyday life!


    Comment by skouba — September 21, 2012 @ 8:54 pm

    • Yes, the hiking was. I wish this was my everyday life. It hasn’t quite been so this summer, but our remodeling project is nearly over and then it will be so again, just in time for Fall!


      Comment by montucky — September 21, 2012 @ 10:21 pm

  20. Reminds me of Van Buren, Missouri, except on a much, much larger scale! I know I’ve said that before, but the river winding thru it is Van Buren spot on! LoL! =)


    Comment by Tricia — September 22, 2012 @ 2:17 pm

    • Funny, but about a hundred miles upstream from where the photo was taken, there is a bridge named “Van Buren” over this river.


      Comment by montucky — September 22, 2012 @ 8:41 pm

  21. How funny is that… =)


    Comment by Tricia — September 25, 2012 @ 7:18 am

  22. fyi, the river that runs thru Van Buren is Current River… =)


    Comment by Tricia — September 25, 2012 @ 7:19 am

  23. Wow, those are just spectacular views!


    Comment by Fergiemoto — September 25, 2012 @ 3:12 pm

    • I think so too, and except for the area in the valley, the land in the other directions is nearly all roadless country.


      Comment by montucky — September 25, 2012 @ 8:26 pm

  24. Thanks for posting the pictures, I just booked a night at the lookout tower in a couple weeks. I’m looking forward to photographing the stars from up there, hoping smoke won’t be an issue. Can you tell me about the road to the top? My car is low clearance without 4wd, can I still make the drive? Maybe I should have found this out before paying for a night lol.


    Comment by Kevin Palmer — August 22, 2013 @ 12:11 am

    • Hello Kevin,
      I hope there won’t be any smoke when you are there. Right now there is a lot of smoke in the Missoula area and some now in Kalispell, but there is none in the Cougar Peak area at the moment.

      I haven’t visited Cougar this summer, but as I recall from last year the road was drivable for a car. I remember seeing one coming down as I saw going up. That is in the Plains/Thompson Falls Ranger District and someone at the ranger station will be able to give you the latest information on the road. Their number is 406-826-3821.

      I hope you have a very pleasant stay at the lookout!


      Comment by montucky — August 22, 2013 @ 8:34 pm

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