McGuire Mountain Lookout

View of the trail approaching the lookout

McGuire Mountain Lookout was originally constructed in 1923 and was actively used as an observation point for detecting forest fires for over 20 years before it was abandoned around 1944. The structure was later renovated between 1983 and 1998 and is now available for rent for up to four people. McGuire Mountain is located approximately 14 miles southwest of Eureka. Access to the lookout requires a 2.5 mile hike from the parking area at Little Sutton Mountain; visitor arrival is dependent on road and weather conditions.

Natural Features: The McGuire Mountain Lookout is located in the Rexford Ranger district within the Koocanusa Area, which is primarily centered along the narrow 90-mile Koocanusa Reservoir, formed by the Libby Dam. The Koocanusa Reservoir is the major recreation attraction in the area and contains a large and stable population of Kookanee salmon, Kamloops (rainbow) trout, bull trout, West slope cutthroat trout and burbot. The Koocanusa Area is the perfect setting for year round recreational attractions, including: fishing, water sports, rock and ice climbing, and driving for pleasure, especially during the fall Western Larch color change.

Recreation: Backpacking opportunities abound in the area surrounding McGuire Mountain. Take trail #446 past the lookout and enjoy many more miles of scenic views. A day trip to Koocanusa Reservoir offers visitors the option of biking, fishing, hiking or boating around the lake. Trail #90, which starts just off of the Koocanusa Reservoir on Hwy 37, follows McGuire Creek closely for a scenic hike along the water. Because the McGuire Lookout is surrounded by windows on top of one of the area's tallest summits (almost 7,000 feet), visitors have the best views of the sunrise and sunset over the surrounding cabinet mountains.

Facilities: The lookout is a 12 x 12 foot wood-frame cabin with a pyramidal-shaped roof. On top of the roof there is a pyramidal-shaped cupola and a wooden ladder inside the cabin leading up to it. Windows completely surround the structure, providing a 360-degree view of the surrounding area. The rustic-style cabin is not wired for electricity. The main room is equipped with a modern wood stove, 2 twin size bed boards (no mattresses), a table, a bench, a shovel, a bucket and cleaning gear. Firewood is provided, but the supply cannot be guaranteed. There is no water available at the lookout and water sources in the area are limited. There is a toilet provided outside the lookout. Guests are advised to bring plenty of their own drinking water. In addition to water, several supplies are needed to ensure a comfortable stay. Sleeping bags and pads, cooking equipment, toilet paper, lanterns, food supplies and matches are recommended.

Nearby Attractions: Two paved highways running adjacent to the reservoir and extending from Eureka to Libby have been designated by the Forest Service as a Scenic Byway. Traffic is light and views along the roadways are memorable, including glimpses of the Ural-Tweed Big Horn Sheep herd, located on the eastern side of the reservoir along Hwy 37.

View of the trail approaching the lookout Interior beds View of the ladder leading to the cupola View from below the lookout looking up Trailhead Sign and trail leading to lookout

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Due to fire traffic using the Pinkham Creek road an alternate route should be used to access the lookout.  Please refer to the attached map. Alternate Route to McGuire Lookout
Reservations:  Reservations can be made by visiting
Fees: $45 a night
Open Season: Mid-June
Water: None
Restroom: None
Information Center: To confirm lock combination please check your confirmation email or contact the Ranger District at (406) 296-2536 during business hours Monday – Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. This is bear country; please take necessary precautions to ensure safety There is no trash collection at this facility; visitors must "pack it in, pack it out" There is no drinking water available at the lookout; visitors must bring their own

General Information


GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
48.67694, -115.19
48°40'37"N, 115°11'24"W

Access depends on weather conditions. The road is normally plowed within 14 miles of the cabin. 

McGuire Mountain is located approximately 14 miles southwest of Eureka and may be reached by taking Othorp Lake Road 854. Stay on this road to Pinkham Creek Road 856 and continue for approximately 13 miles. Turn and follow Sutton Ridge Road 494 west to Little Sutton Mountain, where you will see a sign marking the beginning of the lookout trail. 

Park all vehicles and continue from the trailhead to your destination approximately 2.5 miles up trail #446.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Cabin Rentals

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  • Be Bear Aware!
    Montana is bear country! Learn about bears and safe practices while visiting the Kootenai
  • Food Storage Order
    A food storage order signed in 2022 requires food storage practice across the Forest to reduce the potential for human-wildlife encounters
  • Know Before You Go OffSite Link

    Regardless of the activity, always be prepared! Stay informed of current conditions and follow safe practices when enjoying your National Forests

  • Leave No Trace OffSite Link

    Visitors are asked to practice Leave No Trace principles while on the Kootenai National Forests to help maintain this abundant ecosystem and sustainable recreation.

  • Weed Free Forage
    It is a violation of rule (FS) and law (State of Montana) to utilize forage or mulch materials that contain the seeds of noxious weeds


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