Indian Ridge Lookout

Area Status: Closed
This area is Closed

Looking up at  Indian Ridge Lookout from below.

Indian Ridge has been the site of a Forest Service lookout since 1918, and was home to a classic 29' "cathedral style" structure, which remained in service until 1958. The current Indian Ridge Lookout, an R-6 flattop on a wooden 20' tower, was built in 1958 and used for fire fighting until 1973. The lookout is still staffed occasionally during emergencies.

The rustic, one-room cabin surrounded by a wooden catwalk offers gorgeous views. The lookout is accessible by car, although the access road is rocky. Guests must be prepared to climb steep, narrow steps up the 30-foot tower to access the lookout's cabin. The accommodations are primitive, so guests should be prepared to pack in most of their own supplies and gear. The 16x16-ft. cabin sleeps 4 and is equipped with 2 twin beds with foam mattresses, a table with chairs, broom, mop and storage shelves. An outhouse with vault toilet is located 50 feet from the lookout.

No heat, electricity or water are available. Guests must bring their own water for drinking, cooking and washing, in addition to a heat source. Propane stoves and lanterns are recommended, since they create less fumes than liquid gas appliances.Items such as a cook stove, bedding, flashlights, dishes and cookware, matches, extra toilet paper, first aid supplies, trash bags, dish soap, towels and an ice chest are not available. Guests are expected to pack out their trash and clean the cabin before leaving.

Please note: due to the height of the tower and the sheer cliffs near the lookout, this location is not recommended for small children. No pets are allowed at the lookout.

Indian Ridge Lookout is located in the South Fork of the McKenzie River drainage. At an elevation of 5,405 feet, above the tree line and far away from city lights, enjoy spectacular night skies and star gazing. The mountaintop is lovely with beargrass and huckleberries. Several rocky outcroppings are covered by wildflowers and mossy vegetation, depending on the season. From the northern edge of the meadow, Hidden Lake is visible below. The Three Sisters peaks are close and prominent to the northeast, along with accompanying views of the Cascade Crest both north and south. Sand Mountain Lookout and Carpenter Mountain Lookout are visible with binoculars.

The Dee Wright Observatory is within easy driving distance. Cougar Reservoir, the West Cascades National Scenic Byway, Hidden Lake, and the Three Sisters Wilderness are all in the vicinity. The French Pete Trail Area (named after an early-day sheepherder who ranged his sheep along the creek that also carries his name) in the Three Sisters Wilderness offers miles and miles of hiking.

To rent this cabin, see "Fees" information below. To find out about recreation rentals on other National Forests across the Pacific Northwest, visit the Pacific Northwest Regional website.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: McKenzie River Ranger District: Lookout closed to reservations through early July 2018.
  • Reserve online at or phone 1.877.444.6777 
  • 2 night minimum stay
  • The maximum length of stay is five consecutive nights per year
  • Sleeps up to 4 people
Area Amenities: Picnic tables,Toilets
  • $55 per night
Open Season: early July 2018 - early September 2018
Usage: Heavy
  • Check in at 2:00 p.m.
  • Check out at 1:00 p.m.
  • Day visitors - please respect the privacy of rental occupants.
  • 4 people maximum
  • No liquid gas appliances
  • No pets
  • No smoking
Water: There is no water at the lookout so you must bring in whatever you think you will need for the durat
Restroom: An outhouse is located 50 feet from the lookout.
Operated By: Willamette National Forest
Information Center: McKenzie River Ranger District

General Information


From Blue River, OR, travel 4 miles east on Highway 126 to Aufderheide Road (Forest Service Road 19). Continue south on Aufderheide Drive, taking a right at the Y and climbing to the top of Cougar Reservoir. Continue south on Aufderheide Drive past Cougar Reservoir 7 miles to Forest Road 1980 (Just before Hard Rock Group Campsite). Turn right on Forest Road 1980, winding up Indian Ridge to Forest Road 247. Turn right on Forest Road 247, circling around the base of Indian Ridge Lookout to a gate.  Past the gate at the summit of Indian Ridge is Indian Ridge Lookout.

General Notes:

Area Attractions

Indian Ridge Lookout is located in the South Fork of the McKenzie River drainage. Cougar Reservoir, the West Cascades National Scenic Byway, Hidden Lake, and the Three Sisters Wilderness are all in the vicinity.

Close to:

Rental Information

BRING: Bedding or sleeping bags are needed. Cooking equipment, utensils, etc. Propane lanterns or flashlights and extra batteries. (Propane stoves and lanterns are recommended since they create less fumes than liquid gas appliances). There is no water at the lookout so you must bring in whatever you think you will need for the duration of your stay.

HEAT: Indian Ridge Lookout has NO heat.

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  Elevation : 
5405 Feet