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Status: Open through Sat Oct 31 2015   Season Dates


Girard Ridge Lookout was constructed in 1931 and used by the Forest Service on a regular basis until 1981. It is one of the few remaining historic lookouts on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. The structure at Girard Ridge is reportedly the oldest lookout of its particular design remaining in California. It was restored to its original character in 1997.

The lookout offers primitive accommodations, but visitors are rewarded with panoramic views of the mountains during the day and bright, starry skies at night. Staying at Girard Ridge Lookout is an unforgettable experience.

Natural Features:

The lookout is located above the Sacramento River Canyon at a height of 4,809 feet. Spectacular views of Mount Shasta are seen to the north, the gray spires of the Castle Crags frame almost the entire view to the west and the distant silhouette of Lassen Peak can be seen to the southeast.

Girard Ridge Lookout is surrounded by northern California mixed conifer forest. Bears and other animals live in the surrounding forest (click here for information on bear safety).


While the main recreation at Girard Ridge Lookout is enjoying the scenery, there are opportunities to hike, hunt, and fish. Hikers can walk north on the Forest Service road for 3 miles from the lookout to where it meets the Pacific Crest Trail.


Girard Ridge Lookout stands 13 feet off the ground and is accessed via a flight of stairs. It has a standard 14x14 foot cabin with a gable roof and exterior catwalk. There is a separate building with a vault toilet that is accessed by going down the stairs and walking about 30 feet. The cabin offers two twin beds with mattresses. Cabinets are available for storage and there is a table for eating. Visitors have access to cleaning supplies, including a mop, broom, and cleansers.

The lookout has no cooking facilities, no water and no electricity. Visitors are required to bring water. A heat source is needed in cooler temperatures. There are no dishes, utensils, cookware, linens or bedding at the lookout. Visitors must bring garbage bags to pack out trash. The use of portable stoves using gas, jellied petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel is allowed with a valid California campfire permit, but no wood or charcoal fires are permitted (Click here for more information about Girard Ridge Lookout).

Nearby Attractions:

Castle Crags State Park is nearby, offering hiking trails, including access to the Castle Crags Wilderness in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, and the chance to fish and swim in the Sacramento River.

Activities and Amenities

Within Facility
  • Bed(s) With Mattress
  • Birding
  • Cleaning Supplies
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Historic Sites
  • Hunting
  • Mattress(es)
  • Parking Area
  • Pets Allowed
  • Picnic Area
  • Scenic Overlooks
  • Sightseeing
  • Star Gazing
  • Vault Toilets
  • Wildlife Viewing
Know Before You Go
  • Maximum capacity is four people
  • Renter must obtain gate combination by calling (530) 964-2184 1 week prior to arrival
  • Smoking is prohibited inside the lookout, but is allowed in vehicles or areas cleared of flammable material
  • The dirt roads leading to Girard Ridge Lookout are at times steep and narrow; high clearance vehicles are recommended. The access roads to the lookout run primarily through private timberlands and log truck traffic should be expected.
  • Click here for more information about the Shasta-Trinity National Forest
  • Don't Move Firewood: Protect California's forests from tree-killing pests by buying your firewood locally and burning it on-site. For more information visit firewood.ca.gov.

Getting There:

GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
41.12806, -122.27861
41°7'41"N, 122°16'43"W

From Redding California, or Mt. Shasta, take Interstate 5 towards Castle Crags State Park. Exit the Interstate at the Soda Creek exit 726. From here, the lookout is approximately 7.5 miles over mostly dirt road. Head east towards the Sacramento River. Cross the bridge over the river and veer right until you come to a road intersection. Turn right on Riverside and follow a curvy and narrow paved road to the intersection of the Girard Ridge Road (Forest Service Road Number 38N23). Turn left, heading up hill. The road will change from pavement to dirt at the 1.9 mile mark from I-5. You will pass some microwave towers. At the top of the hill at approx 6.5 miles from the interstate look for a road intersection, this is Forest Service Road Number 39N13. It will be your first left. Turn here and travel approximately .6 mile to an unnumbered road again on your left. A sign says Girard Ridge Lookout with an arrow. Turn here and you will come to a green Forest Service gate. Open the gate and travel on this road until you reach the lookout (about 1/2 mile).

Contact Information:

Mailing Address:

PO BOX 1620
MCCLOUD  CA  96057

Phone Number:

Information:  (530)964-2184
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