Lookout Mountain Summit
Starting Elevation: 5922 feet
Summit Elevation: 6789 feet
Round Trip Distance: 8 miles
Elevation Gain: 1307 feet
Elevation Loss: 440 feet
How many mountains are named Lookout Mountain? More
than I'd like to count that is for sure. So why would you want to climb this one? Lookout Mountain and all of the others in this remote area of the St. Joe National Forest are quite infrequently visited. For an entire day I passed not one other hiker.
This could be for its proximity to the Grandmother Mountain Roadless Area
which is appriximately 30,000 acres without even FSR access roads. It could also be for the fact that the access road is quite terrible and just getting to Clarkia from St. Maries (the nearest large town) is a 45 minute drive. At any rate their are many great hiking trails in the area.
If you are interested in using a motorized vehicle to reach the summit of a mountain this is also permitted on many of these trails. The trails would be somewhat difficult with the blow downs but I did notice some tracks all the way up to the summit and did use my mountain bike on this hike. Having just hiked to Grandmother Mountain earlier in the day I think it would have been easier to bike on that trail than on the Lookout Mountain Trail.
Getting to this trail head is an adventure in itself. From the small town of Clarkia, ID it is no less than an hour and a half of driving to go 26 miles on a nice forest service road that gets worse and worse until you can hardly do 15 miles per hour without rattling your head off your shoulders. No less than 8 miles of this approach road is done at over 1 mile of elevation.
Directions from Clarkia:
After entering town off Hwy 3 take a Left on Cedar St.
.5 miles turn Right on Sunrise St.
1.5 mile Sunrise becomes dirt
2 miles At intersection go straight onto FSR 301
6.4 miles from intersection follow FSR 301 Left
14.9 miles Follow FSR 301 Left again
18.2 miles Grandmother Mountain trail head and Sign
20.4 miles Follow FSR 301 Left again
23.7 miles Crater Peak trail head
26.4 miles Left to Lookout Mountain trail head parking lot
permitted but quad's, and snowmobiles are not. No trail head passes needed.
Camping Can be done right at the Orphan Point Saddle trail head (pit toilets available) or several other locations along the road.