Cougar Peak Lookout


Cougar Peak offers an opportunity to experience the lifestyle of early day Forest Service fire lookouts. The scenery is exceptional. It commands an impressive view of the river valley and the surrounding Cabinet Mountains. The 14x14-foot lookout cabin sits on the ground (not elevated). It is available for rent from June 20 to September 18 each year. The lookout can be accessed by vehicle, although late spring snow drifts may compromise parts of the road, requiring visitors to hike a short distance. Guests are responsible for their own travel arrangements and safety, and must bring several of their own amenities.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: 2021 dates: June 11-October 6, 2021
Reservations required through
Plains-Thompson Falls Ranger District 406-826-3821
Fees $45 per night. Visit to make reservations.
Open Season: Early June - Early October
Usage: Heavy
Restrictions: No smoking in buildings. No garbage service is provided. No outside campfires permitted at the site.  Bear Safety and Food Storage Requirements Information
Closest Towns: Thompson Falls, Montana
Water: No drinking water available
Restroom: Outhouse
Information Center: Plains/Thompson Falls Ranger District, 406-826-3821

General Information


From Thompson Falls, travel west on state highway 200. Turn right on the Blue Slide Road which is about a mile from Thompson Falls. Drive 9 miles along the Blue Side Road and turn right onto the Cougar Peak Road #403. Follow the road to the end. Lookout cabin sits on the ground near the end of Road #403. 150-foot walk to lookout.

General Notes:

The 14x14-foot lookout structure is small, but can accommodate two to four people. There is a single bed, a table and two chairs and a wood stove. No other furnishings are provided. Bring your own gas stove for cooking, all cooking, eating and washing utensils and implements as well as bathroom tissue, sleeping pads and cots. Pack out your own garbage. Firewood may be collected locally for the heating stove in the lookout. There is room nearby to set up a small tent if additional sleeping space is needed. Cougar Peak is within grizzly bear habitat. Visitors to the lookout and surrounding area need to be aware of the possibility of encountering a bear. Please review our Bear Safety and Food Storage Information page.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Camping & Cabins

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Day Hiking

Cougar Peak Trail # 541 follows the ridge below the lookout towards Vermillion Pass to the northeast.
Elevation descRidgetop elevation is above 6000 feet.
Difficulty Level: Difficult
Areas & Activities


  Latitude : 

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  Elevation : 
6694 feet