West Myrtle Butte L.O.

Oregon Lookouts


Malheur National Forest


Abandoned; Currently standing

Estimated drive time from Portland, OR.

6 hours

Date visited.

September 4, 2021



National Historic Lookout Register.


Trip Report.

My partner and I decided to switch our Labor Day weekend plans from backpacking to car camping due to the wildfire smoke. Our plan was to head out to the Malheur National Forest to see West Myrtle Butte, Sugarloaf, and Snow Mountain lookouts. And if we had time we would attempt to go to Tower Point L.O. in the Ochoco National Forest as well. The Malheur NF looked to be the most promising for visibility and air quality. We knew it would be busy since it was bow hunting season and a holiday weekend but we were still able to find somewhere to disperse camp. We decided to start by checking out West Myrtle Butte L.O. since it was the most northern of the three. We took FS-37 to FS-641 to get there. We were able to drive my Civic down FS-641 until there was a fork in the road. FS-641 continues to the left up to the lookout. The road immediately deteriorated after passing this junction. We parked in the shade on a pullout and road walked the remaining 0.7 miles. You are basically already on the ridge at this point so the grade getting to the lookout from here is gradual.


There are two living quarters on the summit along with a pit toilet and Aermotor tower. The Aermotor is an 80′ steel tower with a 7’x7′ cab. The main living quarters were a wood 16×20 foot plan 6-D 61. Both of these structures were built in 1929 and are still standing. A 16×20 wood frame Aladdin style garage was added to the summit in 1934. I don’t recall seeing a garage on the summit when we visited, but it might have been the second structure. It appeared to be more of a storage area or additional living quarters than a garage but I couldn’t find any information on this. It may have also been torn down. The main living area had some vandalism with broken windows but is in otherwise fair condition. The Aermotor tower was open to climb even though the FS had deemed it unfit for use. All structures showed signs of wood rat activity, and there was even a nest in the fire finder platform cupboard. All of these structures are slated for decommission by the Malheur NF.

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