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Attention: Indian Ridge Lookout has been opened early due to low snow levels. Higher clearance vehicles are recommended due to some erosion on the access road and/or the presence of rocks or other debris.


part ofWillamette National Forest, US Forest Service
Status: Open through Sun Oct 25 2015   Season Dates


The Indian Ridge Lookout sits at an elevation of 5,405 feet in the Willamette National Forest. Indian Ridge was named for the old Indian hunting trail that runs along the summit.

Built in 1958, the lookout was used for firefighting by Forest Service personnel until 1973. The lookout is still staffed occasionally during emergencies.

The lookout is accessible by car, although the access road is rocky. Guests must be prepared to climb steep, narrow steps up the 30-foot tower to access the lookout's cabin. The accommodations are primitive, so guests should be prepared to pack in most of their own supplies and gear.

Natural Features:

Views from the lookout include the Three Sisters, which are close and prominent to the northeast, along with views of the Cascade Crest both north and south. The Sand Mountain and Carpenter Mountain Lookouts are visible with binoculars. Hidden Lake is visible below the northern edge of mountaintop.

The ridge is covered with open beargrass and huckleberries. Several rocky outcroppings are covered by wildflowers and mossy vegetation, depending on the season.

Willamette National Forest offers prime habitat for such species as Roosevelt elk, black bear, northern bald eagles, mule deer and bobcats, among other wildlife.


From the lookout's perch above the tree line and far away from city lights, guests can enjoy spectacular night skies and star gazing.

A trail on the ridge meanders through alpine trees and beargrass, allowing hikers to explore the mountaintop. Several other outbuildings and radio installations can be explored near the tower.

The French Pete Trail Area in the nearby Three Sisters Wilderness offers several miles of hiking. Cougar Reservoir and Hidden Lake are also in the vicinity, offering additional recreation options.


The 16x16-ft. cabin sleeps 4 and is equipped with 2 twin beds with foam mattresses, a table with chairs, broom, mop and storage shelves. An outhouse with vault toilet is located 50 feet from the lookout.

No heat, electricity or water are available. Guests must bring their own water for drinking, cooking and washing, in addition to a heat source. Propane stoves and lanterns are recommended, since they create less fumes than liquid gas appliances.

Items such as a cook stove, bedding, flashlights, dishes and cookware, matches, extra toilet paper, first aid supplies, trash bags, dish soap, towels and an ice chest are not available. Guests are expected to pack out their trash and clean the cabin before leaving.

Nearby Attractions:

The Dee Wright Observatory is within easy driving distance. It is located at the summit of McKenzie Pass on McKenzie Highway, State Route 242. The Civilian Conservation Corps built the observatory from lava rock during the Great Depression.

From the observatory, visitors can view and identify several Cascade Mountain peaks. A bronze "peak finder" is located at the top of the structure.

Interpretive panels, located on the paved trail to the observatory, tell the story of early travelers and area geology. The Lava River Interpretive Trail is located next to the observatory, offering an unusual half-mile hike through young lava flows on a paved trail.

Activities and Amenities

Within Facility
  • Bed(s) With Mattress
  • Berry Picking
  • Birding
  • Broom & Dust Pan
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Cleaning Equipment
  • Hiking
  • Lookout Tower
  • Star Gazing
  • Table & Chairs
  • Trails
  • Vault Toilets
  • Wildlife Viewing
Know Before You Go
  • Entry to the cabin is by combination lock and key; Call (541) 822-3381 at least 72 hours prior to arrival to confirm combination code and for updates.
  • The McKenzie River Ranger District office is open Monday-Friday, and is closed on the weekends. Please call ahead for information at least 72 hours prior to arrival for updates or other information.Office hours are Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. The office will not be open on weekends.
  • Indian Ridge Lookout has a 2 night stay minimum requirement. Single days that appear to be available cannot be rented.
  • There is no water or heat at the lookout
  • Propane lamps, stoves and heaters are recommended
  • Due to the height of the tower and the sheer cliffs near the lookout, this location is not recommended for small children
  • There is no tent, trailer or RV camping at the site
  • Please pack out all trash and clean cabin before departure by wiping down all surfaces and sweeping floors
  • Guests must close all windows and doors and lock the lookout upon departure
  • No smoking
  • No pets or livestock allowed at site
  • Guests should contact the Ranger District prior to arriving to check on any restrictions or conditions that may affect their visit
  • Learn more about the Willamette National Forest
  • Don't Move Firewood: Please protect Pacific Northwest forests by preventing the spread of invasive species. Firewood can carry insects and diseases that can threaten the health of our western forests. You can make a difference by obtaining and burning your firewood near your camping destination. Visit Dontmovefirewood.org for further information.

Getting There:

GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
44.00556, -122.25361
44°0'20"N, 122°15'13"W

From Highway 126, travel south on Forest Service Road (FSR) 19 (Aufderheide Scenic Byway) to FSR 1980. Turn east on to FSR 1980 and travel to FSR 1980-247. Follow to the top where the road ends at the lookout.

From Highway 58, turn at the Westfir junction, traveling north through Westfir (this road becomes FSR 19 or Aufderheide Scenic Byway) to FSR 1980. Turn east on to FSR 1980 and travel to Road 1980-247. Follow to the top where the road ends at the lookout.

Contact Information:

Mailing Address:

57600 McKenzie Highway

Phone Number:

Information:  (541)822-3381
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