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Bear Basin Butte Lookout and Pierson Cabin

Find solitude, awe-inspiring views, a quiet haven away from the crowd and the opportunity to feel what it’s like to live in a fire lookout. Experience it all at the top of Bear Basin Butte (elevation 5,303 feet) through the rental of a historic fire lookout and a new 1930s style cabin.

A Room with a View

Take in a panorama of the Siskiyou Crest to the east and rolling mountains to the west. Wisps of clouds and fingers of fog may move among the peaks and valleys, emphasizing the many contours of this striking landscape. Imagine watching a sunrise or sunset, stargazing, or even viewing an approaching storm from this magnificent vantage point! Try your hand at locating named peaks with the Osborne Firefinder, a device used in fire lookout towers.

The Facility and its Story

The lookout was originally built five miles west on French Hill at Camp Six by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1935.  Part of Forest Service fire detection operations through the 1990s, the lookout was moved in 1997 to Bear Basin Butte for recreational use. The cabin was built at that time.

A Botanical Area

The butte itself sits within the Bear Basin Butte Botanical Area, home to more than 14 species of conifers (cone-bearing trees) and an unusual and beautiful array of wildflowers and plants. All the better to try the Siskiyou Wilderness trailheads three miles from the lookout providing access to Buck Lake, Devil’s Punchbowl, Clear Creek Recreational Trail, and Island Lake. 

What Will I See?

  • An incredible 360-degree view of forested mountains and rocky peaks
  • An authentic fire lookout
  • A dome of stars above
  • Visitors mountain biking, hiking, camping, and nature viewing

About This Destination

The Six Rivers National Forest lies east of Redwood State and National Parks in northwestern California, and stretches southward from the Oregon border for about 140 miles. It encompasses 957,590 National Forest acres and 133,410 acres of other ownership. 

What Should I Know?

Amenities: Furnished cabin and lookout, picnic area, wood stove, firewood, and vault toilet. No water or power.  Pets are not allowed inside the cabin or lookout.

Fees: $75 per night for one to eight persons; $5 per night for each additional person (max. 12 people).

Reservations:  Required through www.recreation.gov, 1-877-444-6777 for July, August and September. May be reserved for one to four nights.

Think safety: Be prepared for wind, sun, lightening, weather extremes, bugs, bears, and narrow, gravel access roads.

Accessibility: The 250-foot path to the lookout is steep and unpaved; the lookout is accessed by 13 stair steps.

Nearby camping: Developed Forest Service camping is provided along U.S. Route 199 at Panther Flat, Patrick Creek, and Grassy Flat (fees apply and reservations may be made through www.recreation.gov)  

How Do I Get There?

41.809246, -123.741047

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