Spyglass Ground House

Idaho Panhandle National Forests

Spyglass Lookout Ground House is located on Spyglass Peak, in the heart of the Coeur d'Alene River Ranger District, Idaho Panhandle National Forests. It's approximately 2.5 miles east and slightly south, as the crow flies, of the Magee Historic Site.

The Spyglass Lookout site is listed on the National Historic Lookout Register. It was first used as a patrol point in 1911 and by the 1920s supported a tower and housing for forest fire lookouts. It was an operational lookout until the mid- to late 60s and then abandoned in the 1970s. Current structures on the site include a 53-foot tower support structure (the hipped roof L-4 cab having been removed in 2014), a 1930s gable roofed ground house used as a residence for lookouts when the site was operational, and a 1930s Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) constructed outhouse. Extensive restoration of the ground house for use as a recreation rental cabin began in 2012 and was completed in 2019.

The ground house measures 14 x 14 feet and offers a dry cabin camping experience for 4 guests; there is no water or electricity. There are two new single mattresses and one bedframe to provide sleeping accommodations for two, with one mattress on the floor. Additional guests may need to provide their own sleeping pads or cots. There are kitchen table and chairs, a Jotul woodstove, wood box, and storage cabinet with basic dishes and eating utensils. There is no refrigerator or cooking stove. Outside the cabin is a picnic table and fire pit. The outdoor pit toilet is located about 150 feet from the cabin and is supplied with biodegradable toilet paper. Visitors should bring plenty of water for drinking and washing up, sleeping bags, matches or lighter, newspaper, garbage bags, flashlight, an ice chest for food storage, battery or propane lanterns, a propane cook stove, dish soap, towels and wash cloth, toiletries, insect repellent, first aid kit, extra toilet paper (just in case), and warm clothes.

Need to Know

Natural Features

Spyglass Peak is situated at 5,190 feet in elevation and is surrounded by the Coeur d' Alene Mountains. From vantage points near the cabin, vistas of ridgetops, forested slopes, and drainages of the North Fork Coeur d'Alene River and tibutaries extend as far as the eye can see. Wildlife in the area include moose, elk, whitetail deer, mule deer, wolf, black bear, mountain lion, fisher, ground squirrels, grouse, and goshawks, as well as other birds and many small mammals.

Nearby Attractions

Fishing streams, non-motorized hiking trails, motorcycle trail, Magee Historic Site


The cabin provides access to several non-motorized hiking trails and a popular fishing stream for day excursions in the surrounding area. The trailhead for Fearn Creek (Trail #407) is about 1 1/2 miles from the cabin and the upper trailhead for Halsey Creek (Trail #451) is about 2 miles from the site. Within 8-10 miles of the cabin are trailheads for Boundary Peak (Trail #325), the lower end of Halsey Creek Trail, and the lower end of Little Elk Creek (Trail #32). Also within this range is Tepee Creek, a favorite fly fishing stream with a westslope cutthroat trout fishery. Slightly further, but still within range of a day outing is Independence Creek National Recreation Trail (Trail #22). This trail offers opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and motorcycle riding.

Contact Information



2502 East Sherman Ave Coeur d Alene ID 83814

Phone Number

For campground inquiries, please call: 208-783-2363

Rental Options

Learn more about gear rental options for your trip

Driving Directions

From I-90 take Exit #43 (Kingston) and drive 24 miles north on Forest Highway 9 (2-lane and paved) to Prichard Junction. Continue on Forest Road 208 for 28 miles to the end of the pavement and the start of Forest Road 6310 (a gravel road with large rocks and potholes). Travel 7 miles to Magee Ranger's Cabin historic site, then continue approx. 1/4/ mi. to the junction with Forest Road 422. Turn left on Road 422 for about 1/2 mile, then left on Road 265. Road 265 is a windy, single lane road with ruts and limited turnouts. Use caution and go slow. Continue past the Magee Airstrip and cross the bridge over Tepee Creek (Forest Road 422) and continue on Road 265 towards Spyglass Peak for 6 miles. At an unsigned intersection near the top of Spyglass Peak take a right turn and unlock service road gate with the combination that is emailed in your confirmation letter. This is the bottom of the access road to Spyglass Lookout Ground House. Drive past the gate ΒΌ mile until you come to the top of Spyglass Peak and the rental cabin. Travel time from Coeur d'Alene is approximately 2 hours and 35 minutes.

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