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part ofMendocino National Forest, US Forest Service
Status: Open through Sat Oct 31 2015   Season Dates


Rustic Pine Mountain Lookout was constructed in 1933 and used for fire detection until 1942. During World War II, the lookout served as part of an aircraft defense monitoring system that extended throughout California. This lookout is historically significant because it only offers 180-degree views of the surrounding terrain, while other lookouts have 360-degree views.

The lookout is typically open from May through October and is accessible by car. Guests are responsible for their own travel arrangements and safety, and will need to bring several of their own supplies for a comfortable and enjoyable experience at the lookout.

Natural Features:

The lookout is perched on an outcropping, at an elevation of 4,400 feet. It is in a mixed forest of ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, black oak and madrone trees. Bucknell Creek and the Eel River are the major drainages in the area. The windows afford views of endless mountain peaks and offer a good vantage point for watching the evening sunsets.

A variety of bird species inhabit the forest, and guests may spot eagles, owls, hawks and osprey. Mountain lions, black bears, black-tailed deer, flying squirrels, bobcats and Tule elk also live in the area. Please be safe around bears.


The lookout mostly offers a prime location for relaxing and enjoying the views. Guests craving more active pursuits can find hiking trails and hunting areas nearby. Floating and fishing on the Eel River are popular pastimes enjoyed by visitors to the area.


The inside of the cabin is equipped with a set of bunk beds and four cots, torch lights, a dining table with chairs and storage cabinets. A fire extinguisher and first aid kit are provided for emergency use.

A picnic table, fire ring and grill are located outside. An outhouse with a vault toilet is a short distance away.

There is no water and electricity. Guests must bring their own water supply, as well as trash bags to pack out their trash. The bunk bed does not have box springs or mattresses. Items such as bedding, lanterns or flashlights, firewood, cookware, utensils and extra toilet paper are not provided.

Nearby Attractions:

The historic town of Upper Lake is approximately 19 miles to the south. This former logging and ranching town offers excellent bird watching, various recreational activities, shops, restaurants and events.

The Lake Pillsbury recreation area is seven miles to the northeast. This is the largest lake in Mendocino National Forest and offers many recreational opportunities.

Activities and Amenities

Within Facility
  • Accessible Pit Toilets
  • Birding
  • Bunkbed(s)
  • Campfire Rings
  • Cots
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • First Aid Kit
  • Grills
  • Hiking
  • Historic Sites
  • Hunting
  • Parking Area
  • Picnic Area
  • Scenic Overlooks
  • Star Gazing
  • Table & Chairs
  • Wildlife Viewing
Know Before You Go
  • Pine Mountain Lookout is accessed with a combination lock; the combination is given when reservation and payment has been confirmed.
  • Group size is limited to no more than six people at a time; no overnight camping is permitted within the administrative site outside the rental lookout building.
  • There is a 2 night minimum stay.
  • Please pack out your trash and clean the facility before leaving.
  • Guests are responsible for reporting loss or damage of items. provided at the lookout and any use of first aid kit or fire extinguisher
  • Off-road vehicles are not permitted in the area.
  • Click here for more information about Mendocino 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):
39.36694, -123.02056
39°22'1"N, 123°1'14"W

From Potter Valley, turn right on Eel River Road (North County Road 240B) and drive 4 miles to the Y-intersection. Take the right hand fork of the Y, signed as Cutoff Road, and travel down the hill for about a half-mile. At the bottom of the hill proceed north on County Road 240B and cross the Eel river bridge. Proceed to the right towards Lake Pillsbury for 14 miles, to the junction of M1 (Soda Creek Store). Proceed to the right (south) on M1 to the Eel River and again cross the Eel River. At the junction of M1 and M8 proceed south (left) onto M1 (Elk Mountain Road) for approximately 6.2 miles to the junction with Forest Road 18N05. Turn right at Road 18N05. Drive 0.2 miles to Forest Road 17N23 (Road 23) and follow it up the hill, to a T intersection. Turn right and drive less than a mile to the gate. The lookout is located behind the gate at the junction of Forest Roads 17N23 and 18N77.

From the Upper Lake Ranger District office, drive 21.3 miles north on Elk Mountain Road. Take a left turn (at Pine Mountain sign) onto Forest Road 18N05. Drive 0.2 miles to Forest Road 17N23 (Road 23) and follow it up the hill, to a T intersection. Turn right and drive less than a mile to the gate.

Contact Information:

Mailing Address:


Phone Number:

Project Office: (707)275-2361
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