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.
The inside of the cabin is equipped with a set of bunk beds and four cots, touch 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.
Pine Mountain Lookout is accessed through a gate with a combination lock. The combination is included in your email conformation.
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, as well as use of first aid kit or fire extinguisher
Off-highway vehicles (OHVs) 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.
Firewood may be collected, and is encouraged, in the vicinity for use on-site. For more information visit firewood.ca.gov.
A permit is required if you want to take firewood home--contact the Upper Lake Ranger Station.
Fires are only allowed in the provided fire ring and pedestal grill unless prohibited by fire restrictions. All fires must be attended at all times and extinguished before retiring for the night as well as before leaving the site.
No smoking or open flames, including lanterns and cook stoves, are allowed inside any of the buildings.
Primary access routes will be signed at major road junctions leading to the lookout. A free Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVAM) can be picked up at the Upper Lake Ranger Station kiosk, and Forest Visitor Maps can be purchased there during business hours.
In case of emergency please dial 911 or contact Forest Dispatch at (530) 934-7758.
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 snakes and bears.
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.
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.
10025 ELK MOUNTAIN ROAD UPPER LAKE CA 95485
For campground inquiries, please call: 707-275-2361
From Upper Lake:
Proceed north on M1/Elk Mountain Road past the Upper Lake Ranger Station. After several miles, as indicated by the sign, turn left onto 18N05. After a few miles, make the hairpin turn to the left onto 17N23. A gate indicated by a sign will be on the right a few miles along.
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 bridge to the north side of Eel River.
Turn right towards Lake Pillsbury and proceed for 14 miles to the junction with M1 at the Soda Creek Store.
Turn right (south) onto M1. At the junction of M1 and M8, proceed to the left (uphill, following the sign for Upper Lake) to stay on M1.
After approx 6 miles, as indicated by the sign, turn right onto 18N05. After a few miles, make the hairpin turn to the left onto 17N23. A gate indicated by a sign will be on the right a few miles along.