Perched atop Pickett Butte at an elevation of 3,200 feet, this lookout offers visitors a unique lodging experience in Umpqua National Forest in southwest Oregon. After climbing 40 feet up on a very narrow steep stairway to the one-room structure, guests are rewarded with panoramic views of the entire Jackson Creek Drainage and much of the lower elevation lands around the town of Tiller. The original lookout was 25 feet tall and built in 1934. In 1948 the tower was replaced with the current flat top structure. The tower is available for reservations October 15 through July 15 (lookout is utilized for fire season during the summer months). The roads to the lookout are not plowed, nor are they maintained for passenger cars. High clearance or four wheel drive vehicles are recommended for travel to this site, and guests must bring several of their own amenities. Please be aware that while very uncommon, during winter months guests may need to snowmobile, ski or snowshoe up to four miles to reach the lookout.
The lookout cabin is a 12 x 12 room, set 40 feet above the ground. It is furnished with a single bed, and a small table and chair, and is equipped with a propane heater, lanterns, cooking stove with oven and a refrigerator (propane is provided). A vault toilet is located at the lookout site. There is a pulley system available to transport items from the ground to the lookout (use at your own risk). There is no water at the site, so visitors must bring plenty for drinking, cooking and washing. Potable water is available at a spigot in front of the Tiller Ranger Station office (20 minutes away via car). Guests must bring several of their own supplies, including food, cooking utensils, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, towels, dish soap, matches, cooking gear, toilet paper and garbage bags. There is no trash service. Pack out all food and garbage.
Entry to the lookout is by combination lock. The combination will be included in your reservation confirmation letter. To open the lock, set the combination to the correct code and squeeze the lock shut, which will allow it to then pop open. Vehicle access past the road gate is permitted with your reservation, but other users may hike from the gate to the lookout during your stay. Placing personal locks on the gate is not permitted as agency personnel may need to access the site.
Please leave the lookout cleaner than you found it. Due to the remote location of the lookout, it cannot be cleaned after every stay. Do not leave food, bottled water or cans/bottles (these can freeze and burst between guests) in the refrigerator when you leave. Do not leave food out where it can attract animals. Keep the building and grounds clean to deter squirrels, mice, rats, and bears.
Inclement weather can occur during any time of the year, but during winter months snow storms can make the lookout unreachable by vehicle. Depending on snow-pack, the lookout can usually still be accessed with a high-clearance vehicle with four-wheel drive and/or tire chains, but be aware that there are times that the lookout can only be accessed by snowshoeing, skiing, or snowmobiling up to 3 miles one-way. Refunds are generally not given for inclement weather.
Renters are advised to bring cleaning supplies to clean interior surfaces upon arrival and departure. The Forest Service will provide cleaning supplies but cannot guarantee their availability in the case they have been used or taken by previous occupants. Renters assume responsibility for cleaning surfaces to reduce the risk of potential COVID infection. If unwilling or unable to use cleaning supplies, renters can avoid going to the rental and submit for a full refund.
In 1898, homesteader William T. Pickett rode into this area on horseback and decided to stay and build a life and home. Perched atop the butte named after him, the Pickett Butte Lookout offers a view of the entire Jackson Creek Drainage and much of the lower elevation lands around the town of Tiller. The Rogue-Umpqua Divide, south and east of Pickett Butte, has scenic peak landmarks, which are capped with snow until early summer.
Water is abundant in streams and a handful of lakes in the area, and diverse plant communities provide habitat for abundant wildlife ranging from hummingbird to black bear.
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Visitors may want to take some time to visit nearby Crater Lake National Park for a glimpse into the area's fascinating geological and cultural history.
Hiking, birding and wildlife viewing are popular among guests. Seasonal changes envelope the area as snowmelt gives rise to spring flowers and vivid autumn colors welcome a landscape dusted with snow. Guests may enjoy a day of scenic driving along a portion of the 172-miles Rogue-Umpqua National Scenic Byway. Mountain and river scenery unfold along the highway, showcasing everything from rolling oak-covered hills and towering coniferous forests to roaring white water rapids and incised inter-canyon lava flows. Swimming at the Three C Rock Picnic Area, about 7 miles from the lookout, is also a refreshing way to spend a warm summer afternoon.
27812 TILLER TRAIL HWY. TILLER OR 97484
For campground inquiries, please call: 541-825-3100
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Important note regarding GPS use: please be advised that GPS units can, and have sent guests down the wrong roads to access the lookout. Please consider following the directions below rather than your GPS unit.
Directions: From Canyonville take West 1st Street and turn onto SE 3rd St/OR-227. Continue to follow OR-227 approximately 23 miles until you reach Tiller. From Tiller take Douglas County Road #46 for 3 miles to the Pickett Butte turn off which is marked as Forest Service Road #3113 (on the right across the bridge). Follow Forest Service Road #3113 approximately 5 miles up to the 300 Spur Road sign (#3113-300). Take the 300 Spur Road up to the lookout (2 miles). The road to the lookout is not snow plowed.
Please use caution during winter months. Pickett Butte's elevation is 3,200 feet and does receive snow. The road to the lookout is not plowed. While very uncommon, during winter months guests may need to snowmobile, ski or snowshoe up to three miles to reach the lookout.