Calamity Butte L.O.

Oregon Lookouts


Malheur National Forest


Active; Currently standing

Estimated drive time from Portland, OR.

6-1/2 hours

Date visited.

May 30, 2021



National Historic Lookout Register.


Trip Report.

We decided to visit Calamity Butte L.O. the day after King Mountain L.O. to help break up our time in the truck. We took FS-28 to FS-2860. FS-28 might as well be considered a major highway. It is a well maintained double wide gravel road. FS-2860, on the other hand, is extremely rough, narrow, and bumpy. I would most likely have to park at the bottom of this road and road walk up it if we had drove my Civic here. Luckily we were in a truck this time and were able to make it up to the spur FS-155 that leads to the lookout. We parked on a pull out after turning on to FS-155 and walked the remainder of the road. A high clearance vehicle can make it to the lookout but we didn’t feel like maneuvering around the remaining road hazards. This is an actively staffed lookout but when we visited it was still boarded up for the season.


The first lookout that was built on Calamity Butte was a D-5 ground house in 1927 and can still be found on the summit today. It has a National Historic Lookout Register sign posted on the door front. The current lookout didn’t start construction until 1996 and was completed in 2001. It’s a 50′ tower with an octagonal cab. I’m not sure what lead the forest service to start building lookout cabs as octagonal, but it seems the newer structures built during that time frame were all moved to this shape. You can also find an older garage on the summit. Fun Fact: This point use to be named Bald Butte but it was later changed to Calamity.

5 thoughts on “Calamity Butte L.O.

  1. Hello! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after going through a few of the posts I realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m definitely pleased I came across it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back frequently!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s