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part ofUmatilla National Forest, US Forest Service
Status: Open through Sat Nov 14 2015   Season Dates


Tamarack Lookout Cabin offers outdoor enthusiasts a cozy cabin with epic views atop Tamarack Mountain. The cabin can accommodate four guests, and awards a unique opportunity to view miles of the Umatilla National Forest from sunup to sundown.

The site was originally used as a fire detection lookout. The original structure was a platform built on a high tree in 1925. It was replaced with a 96-foot Aermotor tower in 1933, and a neighboring cabin was built to house Forest Service employees. A utility shed was also built. When the cabin burnt down in 1966, the shed was converted into housing. That same shed is where guests can stay today. The tower is also still standing, and visitor are welcome to climb up and enjoy the view.

Natural Features:

At 4,979 feet above sea level, Tamarack Mountain overlooks the John Day River basin, between Spray and Kimberly. The lookout and the mountain it tops are named after the western larch, a tree that is particularly fruitful in the Blue and Wallowa Mountains. Western tanagers and dusty flycatchers frequent the area and purple-blue spikes of lupine, white and pink yarrow and yellow balsamroot add bursts of color to the landscape.


Over 26 miles of trails throughout the Heppner Ranger District can be accessed from the cabin for hiking or horseback riding. Plentiful fishing opportunities abound in streams, Penland Lake and Bull Prairie Lake. Many roads are open to off-road vehicles, and 28 miles of designated trails are available. Other activities include hunting, wildlife viewing and bird watching.

Winter recreation is uncertain in this area. Snowfall varies, and patchy snow and rough terrain make snowmobiling and cross country skiing difficult.


The cozy converted shed offers one room with amenities including propane lights, a heating stove and cook stove, refrigerator, cookware, silverware and dishes. Furnishings consist of a set of bunkbeds and a wood table with five chairs. No water is onsite, so visitors must bring plenty for drinking, cooking and washing.

An outhouse is outside, along with a picnic table. A campfire ring may only be used when fire restrictions are lifted.

Guests must bring food, water, bedding, a first aid kit, flashlights, matches and all other basic camping gear. Click here for more cabin details.

Nearby Attractions:

Heppner is the nearest town with a general store, which is about an hour's drive away.

Off-road vehicle enthusiasts enjoy Morrow County OHV Park, located 14 miles southwest.

Activities and Amenities

Within Facility
  • Bunkbed(s) With Mattresses
  • Campfire Rings
  • Cooking Pots
  • Cooking Utensils
  • Hunting
  • Off-Road Vehicle Trails
  • Picnic Area
  • Propane Lights
  • Snowshoeing
  • Stove
  • Table & Chairs
  • Vault Toilets
  • Wildlife Viewing
Greater Than 10 Miles
  • Fishing
Know Before You Go
  • Entry to the cabin is by combination lock, provided in reservation confirmation letter
  • Please call the district office at (541) 676-9187 prior to arrival to check on weather conditions and road access
  • This is a high cliff area; please exercise caution, especially with children
  • The last mile to the cabin is steep and rocky; a high clearance vehicle is strongly recommended
  • Campfires are generally prohibited July - September; please check with ranger district for updated fire restrictions
  • Please bring garbage bags; this is a "pack in-pack out" facility
  • Winter rentals are not guaranteed due to difficult accessibility
  • For current fire restrictions and closures, click here

  • 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):
44.87417, -119.66361
44°52'27"N, 119°39'49"W

From Lexington, OR, take Highway 74/207 east to Heppner. Continue south, on Highway 207. At the junction in Heppner, bear right to continue south on Highway 207 for 39 miles through Heppner, Ruggs, Hardman and past Anson Wright County Park to the junction of Highway 207 and Forest Road 24 (0.1 miles past the Bull Prairie Campground turn-off). Turn left (east) on FR 24 (a gravel road) and travel 6.5 miles to FR 2407. Turn right (south) on FR 2407 and travel 1.5 miles to FR 040. Travel a half-mile on FR 40 to the cabin, which is on the right before the helipad.

Winter access, from mid-November to mid-May, depends on weather conditions. Winter use of the cabin in not guaranteed, as snow levels vary and the last mile to the cabin is very steep.

Contact Information:

Mailing Address:

HEPPNER  OR  97836

Phone Number:

Information:  (541)676-9187
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