Please reference the original post on Illahee Rock L.O. for information on the history of the lookout, status, our initial site visit, and directions.
Date Revisited: July 1, 2022
Day 7/10: Lookout Road Trip 2022
Ever since our not so graceful redemption visit to Illahee Rock, we have wanted to revisit during more ideal conditions. It wasn’t a high priority since there are so many other fire lookouts to see and only a short window to see them. But, Illahee Rock holds a special place in our hearts. It was the catalyst that triggered our pursuit to visit as many standing fire lookouts as possible. We had this as a potential add on to our road trip if conditions were favorable and we had extra time while in the area. Thanks to a recent post by the Wandering Yuncks we knew it’d be snow free this time too.
This was essentially a rest day for us from the go-go of the trip. We were already situated close to the access road for Illahee Rock and it was our only plan for the remainder of the day. We had a leisurely breakfast at camp before packing a lunch and heading out to HWY-138. The access road is fittingly named Illahee Road, which is also NF-4760. It is located just past the Umpqua’s Last Resort. You will wind up this decent gravel road for 7-1/2 miles to the junction with NF-100. Make sure to watch for fallen rocks on the road. We decided to park at this junction and walk since I recalled NF-100 having some larger potholes. After further inspection, all the potholes would have been passable to the Civic with caution. We stayed on NF-100 for about a mile before we reached the NF-104 spur off to the left. This will take you to the trailhead. The NF-104 spur is pretty overgrown and rocky. I wouldn’t attempt driving it in a low-clearance vehicle. From the trailhead, it is a short hike to the summit. It was really nice to see everything snow free for a change. The trail is still in great shape, even after the fires, with only a few downed trees to navigate. The wildflowers were in bloom too and we had commanding views in every direction. There is a hole in the catwalk that someone had cut just big enough for access. It was here during our last visit as well, but I didn’t have the energy to climb through it then. Also, in case it needs to be said, please do not cut holes in the catwalks of fire lookouts. But, since it was already there, I decided to get a better look. We had the trail and summit to ourselves aside from a kettle of Turkey Vultures that checked us out. I knew I didn’t smell great, but it must have been much worse than I thought to attract the Vultures. They eventually realized we weren’t road kill and moved on to something else. We enjoyed our lunch on the catwalk and soaked in the sunshine before heading back to the car.
The next day we were able to get a bit more clarification on the status of Illahee Rock from the lookout attendant we met on Pig Iron. She was the last lookout to staff Illahee Rock in 2016. She didn’t go into details on why they stopped staffing it or if they planned to staff it again. We could tell she was very passionate about Illahee Rock and would’ve preferred to be stationed there instead. The Forest Service had moved her to Pig Iron as an alternative. Any friend of Illahee Rock is a friend to her.