Bear Basin Butte Lookout / Pierson Cabin

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

Bear Basin Lookout

Are you seeking solitude, awe-inspiring views, a quiet haven away from crowds, or perhaps you've wondered what life would be like for a fire spotter in the Forest Service? While fire lookouts may be passing into history, they remain objects of interest for many people, both for their beautiful locations and the mystique surrounding existence in a high and remote site. Now you have an opportunity to feel for yourself what it's like to live in a fire lookout. The Bear Basin Butte Lookout is situated high atop a narrow mountain ridge and offers a 360° view of the Siskiyou Mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. The Six Rivers National Forest invites you to experience life at the top of Bear Basin Butte through rental of a historic fire lookout and a new 1930's style cabin.mn09

See more photos by clicking on the Photos and Multimedia Link on the right sidebar.

Bear Basin Lookout and Pierson Cabin Brochure, rev. 2-2015 - PDF

Bear Basin Lookout and Pierson Cabin Brochure, rev. 2-2015 - Word 

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Open all year. Snow may block vehicle access in the wet season (usually Nov-June). Renters may have to walk in up to 11 miles to reach the facility.
Operational Hours: Open all year. The cabin and lookout are rented as a pair from July 1 to October 15. The lookout interior will be closed on or around October 15 (exterior catwalk will still be open); only the cabin is available for occupancy between October 16 and June 30. The road may be blocked by snow in the wet season, usually from November through mid-June; renters may have to walk as far as 11 miles to reach the cabin.
Reservations: Reserve through, 1-877-444-6777; TDD:1-877-833-6777; International: 1-518-885-3639. Reservations must be made at least three days in advance and up to six months in advance.
Fees July 1 to October 15: $75.00 per night. October 16 to June 30: $35 per night. Rates are for 1 to 8 persons; there is a fee of $5.00 per night for each additional person over 8, paid directly to the facility (usually when picking up the key). The maximum occupancy is 12 persons.
Usage: Medium-Heavy
Best Season: July through September
Busiest Season: June through October
Restrictions: Pets are not allowed in the cabin or lookout.
Closest Towns: Closest Towns: Gasquet, California and O'Brien, Oregon
Nearest gas: Hiouchi Hamlet, 31 miles Nearest grocery store: Crescent City, 40 miles; convenience store in Gasquet, 21.5 miles Nearest potable water: Patrick Creek Campground, 13 miles (summer) Panther Flat Campground, 18 miles (open all year)   Nearest known pay telephone: Brookings, Oregon, 56 miles
Water: No
Restroom: Vault toilet

General Information


Driving to Bear Basin Butte Lookout

Distance from Smith River NRA Visitor Center: 21.5 miles Driving time: approximately 1 hour

Directions from Smith River NRA Visitor Center, 10600 U.S. Highway 199, Gasquet, California 95543: Travel east on Hwy 199 10.6 miles (mile post 24.73) to Little Jones Creek Road (a.k.a. FS 16/17N05/Jawbone Rd). Follow signs to Bear Basin LO, staying on the paved road. About 5.8 miles up Jawbone you will have your first view of the lookout. At about 20.5 miles (10 miles on Jawbone), turn left onto 16N02 and continue to gate at 20.8, following sign to Bear Basin LO.

General Notes:

This facility is extremely popular; reservations often fill as soon as they become available online, especially during the peak season (July through September).

Tips for getting a reservation:

Set up your account with before you book.

Find out what time opens for the day. They are on Eastern Time so you will have to convert to your time if you are not in that time zone.

Exactly six months before the first day of your desired stay just before opens for the day go to the Bear Basin Lookout and Cabin, CA “Date Range Availability” page. You may want to check a few days before to make sure you are booking on the right day. Keep refreshing the “Date Range Availability” screen until the first day of your desired stay shows as available. Only the first day of your stay has to be within the booking window--you may book an additional three days beyond that.

If the first day of your desired stay is already reserved it means that someone booked it a split second before you or it is the second, third, or fourth day of someone else’s stay that extended beyond the booking window.

If you don’t get your desired date(s), keep trying for other dates (assuming you are flexible). Check back frequently for cancellations.

Weekends are always more in demand—book during the week if you can.

Good luck.

Link to Bear Basin Lookout and Cabin, CA facility detail page


Gravel parking lot--for a photo of the parking area see Photos & Multimedia link on right sidebar.

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