Umpqua National Forest
Active; Currently standing
Estimated drive time from Portland, OR.
December 4, 2021
National Historic Lookout Register.
We debated visiting this lookout during the winter months and planning it as a snowshoe since the access road, NF-4793, is located right off of HWY-138. There’s also a small snow park located right at the turn off. This would be easy to access since it is plowed in the winter. There hadn’t been much snow in this area as of recently and we decided to check it out as a day hike instead. The weekend forecasted for cold but sunny skies. We were hopeful we wouldn’t be met with any snow and decided to try for Garwood Butte L.O. while we were in the area too. As we made our way down to the Umpqua NF from Portland, we could see patchy snow on the tips of the high peaks. We decided to head for Garwood Butte first but only made it a little less than a mile down the road before we were met with deep snow. It wasn’t worth the risk to drive, so we continued on to Cinnamon Butte. We turned on to NF-4793 and were uncertain if we’d be met with more snow. There is a sign for the lookout from HWY-138 and at the road junction off of NF-4793, so it is easy to find. The turn off for the lookout access road is only a mile and a half up NF-4793. I figure this road gets more sun exposure since we were able to drive to the junction with no issues. It is a gated road so you will need to park and walk the remaining distance. From the gate it is another 1.5 miles to the summit. As you hike up the road, you will already start to get some great views of Mt. Thielsen and the surrounding Diamond Lake area. There is a large parking lot on the summit which makes me believe you can drive there in the summer months. We had the summit to ourselves for the majority of the time. Another couple had hiked up while we were eating lunch but didn’t stay for very long. We took our time on the summit since we already had reservations in Roseburg for the night. It was a gorgeous day to visit!
The current lookout tower was built for Buster Butte in 1955 as a 41′ treated tower and R-6 flat roof cab. It wasn’t moved to Cinnamon Butte until 1976. It has since seen some renovations. The original Cinnamon Butte L.O. was developed as a 35′ tower with L-4 cab in 1934 by the CCC. This lookout is one of the few that is still actively staffed every summer. The structure was threatened by the Thielsen Fire in September 2020. Evidence on how close the fire came can be seen on your hike up the road. It’s apparent that the access road was part of the fire break.