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MEDICINE POINT LOOKOUT, MT

part ofBitterroot National Forest, US Forest Service
Photo: MEDICINE POINT LOOKOUT
Status: Closed through Wed Oct 01 2014   Season Dates
 

Overview

Medicine Point Lookout is a historic tower located on Medicine Point, west of Sula. It has been restored to reflect a lookout of the 1940s, including the stove, furniture, dishes and other small touches. It offers a unique chance for visitors to camp on a mountain peak, near the scenic Bitterroot River in a rustic, old-time setting, while having the enjoyment of recreating on public lands. The tower provides spectacular views of the surrounding western Montana wilderness.

Natural Features:

The tower is poised between the east and west forks of the Bitterroot River at an elevation of 8,409 feet. It offers beautiful views of the Bitterroot Mountains, as well as of a vista of the southern Bitterroot Valley to the east. On clear nights the lights of Hamilton can be seen from the tower.

The Bitterroot forest is home to many species of wildlife, from mule deer, whitetail deer, elk, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, black bear, mountain lions and moose to many varieties of smaller animals and birds.

Recreation:

An extensive trail system exists in the area, including several loop trails for hiking, backpacking and horseback riding. Hitching racks are available at the base of the tower for equestrian campers' needs. Road and trail conditions are unpredictable, as weather changes quickly in the area. For best results, consult the ranger district prior to travel.

Aside from hiking and horseback riding, the area is replete with wildlife and offers scenic views. A lookout journal is kept inside, providing instructions of what to do in case of emergency or a storm. Danger from lightning is largely abated due to a lightning rod implanted at the structure.

Facilities:

The 14-by-14 room at the top of the tower can accommodate up to four people. It is equipped with a bed platform for two, as well as a table and chairs, a propane fireplace for heat and a propane camp stove and lanterns. Propane for the fireplace is provided. Basic eating and cooking utensils are available and an outdoor vault toilet is provided.

A 30-inch catwalk surrounds the tower's single, glass-paneled room. Guests may need to saw their own firewood from down and dead material surrounding the lookout, and a bow saw and axe are provided.

Guests will need to bring their own water for drinking, cooking and cleaning purposes, as well as propane fuel canisters for cooking and lighting. Guests are also responsible for their own bedding, towels, soap, toilet paper and garbage bags. The facility does not provide trash receptacles; all garbage should be carried out, and the tower should be cleaned by guests prior to leaving.

The tower is accessed by a somewhat difficult 4-mile hike from the parking area. Snowmobiles and other off-road vehicles are not allowed on the trail, however, horses and other livestock are welcome. Guests are responsible for their own travel arrangements and safety, and must bring several of their own amenities.

Activities and Amenities

Within Facility
  • Backpacking
  • Bed(s)
  • Birding
  • Broom & Dust Pan
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Cooking Utensils
  • Hiking
  • Historic Sites
  • Hitching Racks
  • Horseback Riding Trails
  • Propane
  • Propane Fireplace
  • Propane Lantern (Fuel not provided)
  • Propane Stove
  • Table & Chairs
  • Trailheads
  • Vault Toilets
  • Wildlife Viewing
Within 10 Miles
  • Parking Area
Know Before You Go
  • Drinking water is not available
  • Propane fuel is provided for the fireplace; bring canisters for stove and lantern
  • This facility is located in a remote area; before making a reservation, become aware of bear, water and weather safety
  • All garbage and food must be packed out
  • The lookout remains locked; a week before your scheduled arrival, contact the Sula Ranger District during office hours to obtain a key code
  • Learn more about the Bitterroot 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):
45.80722, -114.11028
45°48'26"N, 114°6'37"W

From Missoula, Montana, travel south on Highway 93 to Laird Creek Road/Forest Service Road 370, which is approximately 34 miles south of Hamilton. Turn right and continue about 4 miles to Bear Creek Saddle. At Bear Creek Saddle, turn north onto Forest Service Road 5731 and continue 2 miles to the trailhead. The trail to the tower is approximately 4 miles and is quite steep along some portions.

Contact Information:

Mailing Address:

MEDICINE POINT LOOKOUT
7338 HWY. 93 S.
SULA  MT  59871

Phone Number:

Information:  (406)821-3201
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