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part ofCuster Gallatin National Forest, US Forest Service
Status: Open year round.   Season Dates


Garnet Mountain Fire Lookout sits on the apex of Garnet Mountain, at an elevation of 8,245 feet. The lookout provides a panoramic view of the surrounding peaks and valleys. Highlights include the Spanish Peaks to the west, the Gallatin Range to the south, the Hyalite Ridge to the east and the Gallatin River Valley to the north.

The structure can be accessed by hiking, horseback or off-road vehicles on the Garnet Mountain Lookout Trail in the summer. The 3.5-mile trail gains 2,800 feet along its path. During winter months, guests must plan on skiing, snowmobiling or snowshoeing up to 10 miles on surrounding roads. Guests are responsible for their own travel arrangements and safety, and must bring several of their own amenities.

Natural Features:

A fire lookout has existed on Garnet Mountain since 1930. The current structure was built in 1962. The lookout is available for reservation year-round. It is an excellent vantage point for watching sunrises and sunsets, or for gazing at the stars on a clear night.

Grizzly bears are extremely common in this area, and gray wolves, mountain lions, deer, elk, moose, bighorn sheep and the Canada lynx also make their home here. A wide variety of bird species can also be seen.


Hikers, mountain bikers and off-road vehicle riders can access the same trail used to get to the lookout. Snowy conditions offer abundant opportunities for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

Big game hunting for bear, elk or moose is a popular autumn pastime around Garnet Mountain.


The lookout can sleep up to four people on provided bunk beds with mattresses. There is a wood stove for heat and propane stove for cooking. Other amenities include a table with chairs, basic cookware, dishes and utensils.

A vault toilet is located outside the facility. Firewood is provided for the wood stove, and there is a campfire ring outside as well.

Water and electricity are not available. Guests must bring their own water supply, as well as garbage bags for packing out trash. Items such as bedding, flashlights or lanterns, dish soap, extra toilet paper and first aid supplies are also not provided.

Activities and Amenities

Within Facility
  • Birding
  • Broom & Dust Pan
  • Bunkbed(s) With Mattresses
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Campfire Rings
  • Cooking Pots
  • Cooking Utensils
  • Cross Country Skiing
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Firewood
  • Hiking
  • Hunting
  • Lookout Tower
  • Mountain Biking
  • Off-Road Vehicle Trails
  • Propane Stove
  • Scenic Overlooks
  • Snowmobile Trails
  • Snowshoeing
  • Star Gazing
  • Table & Chairs
  • Trails
  • Vault Toilets
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Wood Stove
Know Before You Go
  • Water is not available in the cabin
  • The cabin remains locked; a combination lock code will be included in the reservation confirmation letter/email
  • Guests must carefully follow the food storage order for Gallatin National Forest; Click here for more information
  • No garbage service; please bring garbage bags and pack out all trash and personal belongings
  • Candles are not permitted inside the cabin
  • Federal regulations prohibit firing a gun or use of any other weapon in or within 150 yards of a developed recreation site, across or on a road or body of water, or in any circumstance whereby any person may be injured or property damaged; violators will be prosecuted
  • Horses not allowed within 100 yards of cabin
  • Pets not recommended; solid pet wastes must be removed within 100 yards of cabin
  • Campfires must be contained within the fire ring adjacent to the facility; no other campfires are authorized
  • The burning of wood pallets is not authorized
  • Click here for more information about Gallatin National Forest
  • 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):
45.42667, -111.20639
45°25'36"N, 111°12'23"W

From Bozeman, travel south on Highway 191 for about 18 miles. Turn left onto Storm Castle Creek Road 132 (formerly known as Squaw Creek). After crossing the bridge, turn right at the intersection and continue past the helicopter base. From there, access one of two trails that lead to the lookout:

Summer Shortcut:
The trailhead for the 3.5-mile Garnet Mountain Lookout Trail 85 is approximately 1.5 miles up Storm Castle Creek Road. Park in the parking lot on the left side of the road. Take the trail south and cross Storm Castle Creek at the bridge. Due to avalanche hazards, this trail is not recommended during winter months.

Rat Lake access:
Travel about 5 miles on Storm Castle Creek to Rat Lake Road 3112. Turn right when the road splits. Follow the road up approximately 1 mile to the trailhead parking area below Rat Lake. Look for the three big boulders and notice Rat Lake after about a half-mile. The trail follows the east side of the lake. The lookout is 4 miles along old logging roads and trails. During winter months, guests may need to park near Shenango Ranger Station and ski, snowshoe, or snowmobile 10 miles to the lookout via Storm Castle Creek and Rat Lake Roads.

Contact Information:

Mailing Address:

BOZEMAN  MT  59718

Phone Number:

Information:  (406)522-2520
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