McCarthy Point Lookout
Available by reservation only, McCarthy Point Lookout was constructed in 1936 by the Civilian Conservation Corps for use in spotting wildfires. During World War II, the lookout served as part of an aircraft defense monitoring system that extended throughout California.
The lookout is accessible by vehicle, but a high-clearance vehicle is recommended. Guests must walk approximately 1,000 feet along a paved trail to reach the lookout from the parking area. This is a high cliff area, so caution is advised.
The cabin offers several creature comforts, but guests may need to bring some supplies and gear for their stay. The scenic views and remote location make McCarthy Point Lookout an ideal retreat.
Natural Features: The lookout is perched at an elevation of 3,600 feet on the southern end of Mill Creek rim overlooking scenic Mill Creek Canyon and the Ishi Wilderness. The cabin is tucked into a stand of mixed evergreens.
McCarthy Point is located within a state game refuge that protects species like wild hog, mountain lion, black bear, coyote, bobcat, Tehama deer and rabbit. A variety of raptors nest on rock cliffs in the nearby Ishi Wilderness, including hawks, eagles, falcons and owls. Other common bird sightings include wild turkey, quail, canyon wrens, band-tailed pigeons and myriad songbirds.
Recreation: The lookout is an excellent base for exploring the recreational opportunities of the Ishi Wilderness. Many hiking and equestrian trails crisscross the Wilderness.
Special fishing regulations are in effect for Mill and Deer Creeks within the Wilderness. Please check the State of California’s Fishing Regulations before fishing. A valid California fishing license is required.
Facilities: McCarthy Point Lookout is a two-room cabin with a kitchen and a bedroom. The bedroom is surrounded on three sides by windows and has overhead propane lights, two single-sized sleeping platforms and six aluminum cots.
The kitchen has overhead propane lights, a propane cook stove, wood stove, double sinks with running non-potable water (hot water is not available), a large picnic-style table with benches and a portable gas barbecue. There is a broom and dust pan for tidying up the cabin.
Wheeled carts are provided to transport gear to the lookout. An outhouse with a pit toilet is located at the parking area.
The cabin does not have potable water or electricity. Guests need to provide their own drinking water. Garbage bags are needed to pack out trash. Items such as bedding, sleeping pads, cooking pots, utensils, dishes, dish soap, toilet paper, paper towels, matches and flashlights are not provided.
At a Glance
|Current Conditions:||McCarthy Point Lookout will close on October 3, 2022.|
|Operational Hours:||This facility is generally open June through early October by reservation only.|
|Reservations:||Reservations can be made by visiting Recreation.gov. Reservations must be made 4 days ahead of arrival and can be made up to 6 months in advance.|
|Fees:||$75 per night|
|Open Season:||June - October|
|Restrictions:||Access to the lookout requires high clearance vehicles for travel over unimproved Forest Service roads. Trailers and RVs are not allowed. Firearms are prohibited. Visitors must walk 1000 feet from parking area to lookout; exercise caution near high cliff area.|
|Closest Towns:||Chico, CA and Red Bluff, CA|
|Operated By:||Forest Service|
|Information Center:||All users must contact the Almanor Ranger District at (530) 258-2141 to obtain lock and access information Potable water is not available at the cabin; guests will need to bring their own. Bears and other wildlife are common in the area, so practice bear-safe food storage Please pack out all trash Firearms are not permitted in the area Trailers and RVs are not permitted at the site. Don't Move Firewood: Protect California's forests from tree-killing pests by buying your firewood locally and burning it on-site. For more information visit firewood.ca.gov.|
GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
From Red Bluff, drive east on Highway 36 toward Lassen National Park and Chester. Turn right onto Payne’s Creek Loop in Paynes Creek, then turn right on Plum Creek Road (County Road 202) and continue for about 9 miles to the junction of County Road 707B (Forest Service Road 28N29/Ponderosa Way). Turn right and follow this road past Black Rock Campground until you reach Forest Service Road 27N08. Turn left and drive less than a mile to road 27N21. Turn left and proceed to the McCarthy Point Lookout.
Please call the Almanor Ranger District for alternate road directions if needed (530)258-2141
All users must contact the Almanor Ranger District at (530) 258-2141 to obtain lock and access information
Potable water is not available at the cabin; guests will need to bring their own
Bears and other wildlife are common in the area, so practice bear-safe food storage
Please pack out all trash
Firearms are not permitted in the area
Trailers and RVs are not permitted at the site
Don't Move Firewood: Protect California's forests from tree-killing pests by buying your firewood locally and burning it on-site. For more information visit firewood.ca.gov.
Map showing recreational areas. Map Information