Every now and then, the very structures built to help locate forest fires and keep them under control fall victim to a raging, destructive blaze. Such was the fate of Snow Camp Lookout, which was toasted in the Biscuit Fire of 2002.
The Snow Camp Lookout, a cabin-type structure with a catwalk, was destroyed by the Biscuit Fire, but has been rebuilt with the generous help of Don Hartley, owner of Don Hartley Construction in Crescent City, California. Don was a frequent visitor to the former lookout, and was committed to assuring that this rustic camping opportunity would not be lost forever. He organized the team of volunteers for the reconstruction, and due largely to his energy and enthusiasm, a new rental opened within two years on June 26, 2004.
The newly renovated cabin is furnished much like the old one, with a double bed, a table and chairs, and cabinets and counter space for food preparation. It is also equipped with a wood-burning cook stove, and there is a picnic table for outdoor dining. A port-a-potty is located near the lookout.
- Availability: Snow Camp Lookout is available for rent June 17 through September 30 (snow accumulation may limit availability).
- Price and Capacity: $40 per night per group, with a maximum of five occupants. Fees are used directly for the maintenance and preservation of the lookout.
- Reservations: There is a 10-day minimum advance window for reservations. The maximum length stay is three consecutive nights. Phone 1-877-444-6777 or visit www.recreation.gov
The earliest fire detection equipment was established on site about 1910 and was used during World War I. It consisted of only an alidade, a surveying instrument and predecessor of the Osbourne Firefinder, mounted on a post and a tent or "rag camp" for the lookout. The lookout on the peak did not receive any structural shelter until 1924 when a 14 X 14 foot square cabin, called a "Hall Special" was constructed. This cabin remained in place until 1958, when a Standard 15 X 15 foot "R-6 Flat" style lookout cabin was constructed on the summit. It featured a flat, tarred roof and wood single pane, four light windows. Major interior features included wood built-in cabinets and an Osbourne Firefinder.
During World War II, lookout towers with a view of the coast such as Snow Camp, served as Aircraft Warning System (AWS) stations. They were staffed around the clock for the entire year of 1942 in defense of the nation against attack from the air. The lookouts helped assure that a reliable and abundant timber supply would support Curry County’s post World War II economic growth.
At a Glance
||June through October, weather dependent
- Gold Beach, OR
- Brookings, OR
||Gold Beach Ranger District
From Brookings, Oregon, and US Highway 101, turn onto North Bank Chetco River Road (Country Road 784). In approximately 8 miles this becomes Forest Road 1376. Continue down this road approximately 25 miles to the lookout site. Although visitors can drive to within sight of the lookout, the 200-yard hike to the summit can be strenuous when carrying gear. A wheelbarrow is provided for convenience.
Pets are welcome
Wood Stove for Heat (firewood not provided)
Propane Cook Stove
Map Location: Township 37 South, Range 12 West, Section 30
Port-Orford-cedar root disease (Phytophora lateralis) is prevalent north of Snow Camp Lookout and threatens uninfected cedar stands to the south. This serious disease is often transported through mud or dirt on vehicles. Visitors must wash their vehicle, including the undercarriage, before entering National Forest lands.