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U.S. Forest Service

Pacific Southwest Region Viewing Area


cliff maids. Cliff maids (Lewisia cotyledon var. cotyledon). Photo by John McRae.

cliff beardtongue. Cliff beardtongue (Penstemon rupicola). Photo by John McRae.

Sierra stonecrop. Sierra stonecrop (Sedum obtusatum). Photo by John McRae.

Bear Basin Butte Botanical Area. Bear Basin Butte Botanical Area. Photo by F. L. Hiser Jr.

Bear Basin Butte Botanical Area

Forest: Six Rivers National Forest

District: Smith River National Recreation Area

Description: Along the crest of the Siskiyou Mountains sits the Bear Basin Butte Botanical Area. Located on the Smith River National Recreation Area in the Northeast corner of Six Rivers National Forest, the area supports an extraordinarily high diversity of conifers (over 14 species) and an unusual and beautiful array of wildflowers and plants.

Viewing Information: Bear Basin Butte (elevation 5303 feet) is situated on a crest of a narrow mountain ridge, a treeless rock outcropping offering a 360' panorama of the Siskiyou crest. The mountain tops of the Siskiyou Wilderness area dominate the horizon to the east. Perched at the summit is a 1935 vintage restored fire lookout and a 1930s style cabin that are available for rent from July 1 to September 30. Within easy walking distance of these facilities is a colorful array of wildflowers blooming throughout the rocky butte top. July is an ideal time to view wildflowers at this elevation. Blue penstemon, red castilleja, yellow stonecrops and white cliff maids create a kaleidoscope of color. In a few hours a visitor may see what otherwise would take days and miles of exploration. Visit the website below for more information.

Safety First: The cabin and lookout are not "child-proof". The cliff edges are not fenced and railings on the lookout catwalk are at adult heights. The 12.5 miles of Forest Service roads that take you to Bear Basin Butte are generally one lane roads with pullouts. Drive slowly, stay to the right side of the road at all limes, and use pullouts. Above all be alert and drive defensively.

Directions: From the town of Gasquet travel east on Hwy 199 10.6 miles to Little Jones Creek Rd. Follow signs to Bear Basin Butte Lookout staying on Route 16/17N05. At about 20.5 miles turn left onto 16N02 and continue to gate at 20.8.

Ownership and Management: U.S. Forest Service, Six Rivers National Forest, Smith River National Recreation Area.

Closest Town: Gasquet, California.

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