Timber Mountain L.O.

California Lookouts


Modoc National Forest


Active; Currently standing

Estimated drive time from Portland, OR.

6 hours

Date visited.

April 10, 2022



National Historic Lookout Register.


Trip Report.

After deciding to visit Lava Beds NM, I wanted to see if there were any other fire lookouts close by that would be accessible. Unfortunately, there isn’t an equivalent map to Rex Kamstra’s fire lookout page for California, which is helpful in finding fire lookouts within the same area. I was able to find Timber Mountain L.O. after doing a bit of research. My partner downloaded the quadrangle map and the route looked simple enough. We figured in the worst case we would run into snow on the road but would be able to hike the remaining distance. We headed out in the morning towards the southern entrance of the Monument and the small community of Tionesta. The main paved road eventually turns into FS-10 that you will follow until it comes to a T-junction with county road 97. From the junction you will turn left. From here we were a bit turned around. The map shows that all the roads should connect but this is not exactly the case. We turned right on to county road 97A which leads to Eagle’s Nest RV Park. The road does in fact connect but there is a private party that has blocked the route with a gate. We headed back out to the main county road and turned right at the next county road 97C. We followed this road until it came to a three way junction. You will want to continue straight over the cattle guard on to road 44N18. This road will take you all the way to the summit. The road is well maintained gravel with only a few hazards. We were surprisingly able to drive all the way to the top in my Civic. There is a gate 1/2 mile from the summit that might be closed during different times of the year, but we found it open during our visit. We enjoyed the lookout to ourselves with lunch before heading back to the Monument for some caving. This was definitely one of the easier fire lookouts to access thus far.

Looking towards Lava Beds NM & Schonchin Butte L.O.
Timber Mountain L.O. From Indian Wells CG


This site was recorded for administrative use as early as 1912. There isn’t much information on what structure, if any, was used back then besides a platform. There are remnants of an old foundation that can be found next to the existing lookout where the old platform used to sit. It is recorded in the National Historic Lookout Register that there was a previous L-4 or Region 5 BC-101 structure used from 1934. The current fire lookout was built in 1966 as a CL-100 plan with 30′ steel tower. It is even outfitted with running water and electricity. The Forest Service still actively staffs this lookout every season.

Old foundation