Scott Lookout Tower

Area Status: Open

The Scott Lookout Tower, renovated in 2011, provides a superb view of the forest and grasslands. 

At a Glance

Operational Hours: Open all the time.
Reservations: None.
Area Amenities: Interpretive Site, Accessible, Toilets, Parking
Fees: None.
Restrictions: Children under 18 need to be accompanied by an adult.
Closest Towns: Halsey (1 mile east); Dunning (10 miles east); Thedford (17 miles west)
Water: No
Restroom: Yes, vault toilet
Operated By: Forest Service

General Information


From Thedford, Nebraska, take Highway 2 about 17 miles east and then turn south (right) into the forest onto State Spur 86B.  After crossing the river, stay to the west (right) on State Spur 86B.  Follow 86 B about 3 miles to its end, which is a loop around the tower.


The top of the tower is not accessible via wheelchair (it has stairs only, no elevator).


Plenty of parking is available.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Day Hiking

The Scott Lookout National Recreation Trail runs between the tower and the Bessey Recreation Complex.  The trail is 3 miles long (one way).  No water is available on the trail or at the tower.

There are a total of 93 steps from the parking area to the top of the Scott Lookout Tower.

The top of the tower is excellent for views of the forest and grasslands.

A view looking up the Scott Lookout Tower. Someone is holding a piece of bread shaped like Nebraska from the Scott Lookout Tower

Photos courtesy of Vincent Asta.

General Info:


The top of the tower is not accessible via wheelchair (stairs only).

Difficulty Desc. Climbing the tower can be challenging.
Fees: None
Difficulty Level: Intermediate


Interpretive Site: Panels describing history of the forest
Toilets: Vault
Accessible: To the base of the tower only

Related Information

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


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