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part ofNez Perce-Clearwater National Forests, US Forest Service
Status: Closed through Thu Jul 16 2015   Season Dates


Castle Butte Lookout is a unique cabin perched on a rocky point, 6,659 feet above sea level. It offers breathtaking, 360-degree views of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, the Seven Devils Mountains, the Great Burn area and the deep canyons of the North Fork Clearwater River's upper drainages.

A cabin was first constructed on this site in 1916 and was replaced in 1928 with a log cabin featuring a cupola. The current lookout was built in 1950.

Access to the lookout is via the Lolo Motorway, a primitive, single-lane road constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the early 1930s. It is not recommended for large RVs, vehicles with low ground clearance or trailers. Guests should be prepared to walk about 100 feet up steep, rocky terrain to reach the lookout.

Castle Butte Lookout is equipped with a few creature comforts, but guests will need to bring some gear and supplies to help make their stay enjoyable. The panoramic view guarantees a memorable stay.

Natural Features:

The lookout is surrounded by a rocky landscape that quickly gives way to dense forests of lodgepole and Ponderosa pines.

This unique facility offers an ideal vantage point to watch sunrises and sunsets, and gaze at the stars. Wildlife enthusiasts may spot eagles, bears, moose, elk, deer and mountain goats.


Hikers can follow the paths of the Nez Perce and Lewis and Clark on the historic Lolo Trail. The Lolo Motorway is popular with off-road vehicle enthusiasts. Click herefor an Idaho OHV safety message.

Huckleberries are abundant in the summer, offering good berry picking opportunities.


Castle Butte Lookout can accommodate four people and comes equipped with two twin beds with foam mattresses, two cots, a table with two chairs, a propane cook stove, mop and bucket, propane lights and propane heater. A pit toilet is located in a separate building outside. Click here for additional cabin details.

The cabin does not have electricity or water. Guests should bring their own water supply, emergency lighting and garbage bags, as well as bedding, matches, toilet paper, cookware and cooking utensils. The cabin should be cleaned before departure.

Nearby Attractions:

The Lolo Motorway stretches for 100 miles through scenic mountain landscapes. Summer visitors can see meadows and hillsides blanketed in colorful wildflowers. Travelers should be prepared for rough, sometimes treacherous conditions. No services are located along this road, so travelers should have plenty of gas, food and water for the drive.

Activities and Amenities

Within Facility
  • Bed(s)
  • Berry Picking
  • Cleaning Equipment
  • Cot(s)
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Mattress(es)
  • Off-Road Vehicle Trails
  • Parking Area
  • Pit Toilets
  • Propane Heat
  • Propane Lights
  • Propane Stove
  • Scenic Overlooks
  • Star Gazing
  • Table & Chairs
Less Than 1 Mile
  • Hiking
  • Historic Sites
  • Lake Access
  • Scenic Drive
Know Before You Go
  • Guests need a lock combination to access the lookout cabin; combination will be on confirmation letter
  • No water is available at the lookout
  • Cell phone coverage is unreliable; nearest phone is 45 miles away in Powell, Idaho
  • We discourage bringing children to the lookout because of the inherent danger of such a facility
  • No garbage service is offered; please pack out your garbage
  • Candles are not permitted in the lookout
  • No livestock allowed
  • Domestic pets are allowed; please be sure to clean up after them
  • Most lookouts have occasional visits from Forest Service employees or members of the public; these people may be using the pit toilet or looking at the views from the peak or cabin walkway
  • Click here for more information about Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests
  • Don't Move Firewood: Prevent the spread of tree-killing pests by obtaining firewood near your destination and burning it on-site. For more information visit dontmovefirewood.org.

Getting There:

GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
46.43417, -115.21917
46°26'3"N, 115°13'9"W

From Missoula, MT: Take US Highway 12 West for about 65 miles. All roads from this point are gravel or dirt. Turn right onto the Forest Service Road 108 (Waw'aalamnime Rd), go about .5 miles, turn left onto Forest Service Road #566 (Doe Creek) which is a very narrow and winding road. Travel approximately 1 mile to an intersection with Forest Service Road #500 (Lolo Motorway), turn left onto the Lolo Motorway. Travel west approximately 18 miles. Turn left onto Forest Service Road #561 (Castle Butte Rd) and travel south about 1.5 miles to the Castle Butte Lookout. Estimated driving time from Missoula is 3 hours.

From Kooskia, ID: Take US Highway 12 East for approximately 17 miles and turn left onto Forest Service Road 101 (Smith Creek Rd). All roads from this point are gravel or dirt. Travel approximately 21 miles, then take a slight right onto Forest Service Road 500 (Lolo Motorway) at the Mex Mountain junction. Travel approximately 33 miles, turn right onto Forest Service Road 561. Turn right onto Forest Service Road #561 (Castle Butte Rd) and travel south about 1.5 miles to the Castle Butte Lookout. Estimated driving time from Kooskia is 5 hours.

From Kamiah, ID: Take US Highway 12 East for about 1 mile and turn left at the end of the bridge over the Clearwater River onto Woodland Road. Drive about 1 mile and turn right onto Glenwood Road (Forest Service Road 100). Drive for about 23 miles to Road 103 at the Musselshell junction. All roads from this point are gravel or dirt. Turn right onto Forest Service Road 103 (Gravey Creek Road) and travel 11 miles to Beaver Dam Saddle. Turn right onto Forest Service Road 104, travel for 1 mile. Take a left onto Road 500 (Lolo Motorway) travel approximately 20 miles to Forest Service Road 561 (Castle Butte Road). Turn right onto Forest Service Road #561 (Castle Butte Rd) and travel south about 1.5 miles to the Castle Butte Lookout. Estimated driving time from Kamiah is 4 hours.

Contact Information:

Mailing Address:

RT.1 BOX 398
KOOSKIA  ID  83539

Phone Number:

Information:  (208)926-4274
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