Gold Butte Lookout

Area Status: Temporarily Closed
Gold Butte Lookout from access trail. Hip roof construction with catwalk surround and glassed walls.

Gold Butte Lookout sits on the summit of Gold Butte at an elevation of 4,618 feet in the Willamette National Forest. It was built in 1934 by the Civilian Conservation Corps. During World War II, the lookout served as part of Aircraft Warning System station in defense of the nation against air attack. It was staffed around the clock, usually by a husband and wife team, who reported all passing aircraft within sight or sound to a central filter center.Guests at the lookout can enjoy panoramic views of the Cascade Range, including nearby Mt. Jefferson, Three Finger ed Jack, Mt. Hood, the Three Sisters and Bull of the Woods Wilderness Area. Seasonal wildflowers and wild huckleberries grow nearby. The lookout is typically open from early July through mid-October. It is accessible by car, but guests should be prepared to walk the last half mile on difficult and steep terrain to reach the lookout. A high clearance vehicle is recommended for the drive. Guests will need to pack in most of their own supplies and gear.

The 14x14-ft. wood cabin accommodates 4 people and comes equipped with 1 twin bed with mattress and 3 folding cots. Other amenities include a table, bench, chair, cabinet, wood bins, fire extinguisher, broom, dustpan, cleaning supplies, dishes and utensils. A wood stove is provided for heat. An outhouse with vault toilet and a woodshed stocked with firewood are located nearby. An axe is available for chopping wood. Water, a cook stove and electricity are not provided. Guests must bring enough water for drinking, cooking and washing. Items such as bedding, lanterns or flashlights, cookware, fire starters, 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.

In addition to relaxing and taking in the incredible views from Gold Butte, guests can venture out and experience other recreation opportunities nearby. Canoeing and fishing is possible in peaceful Elk Lake. Day hiking is a popular pastime in the adjacent Bull of the Woods and Opal Creek Wilderness Areas or nearby Mt. Jefferson Wilderness.

Know Before You Go

Overnight stays are by reservation only. Walk-ins are not allowed.

There is no water; guests must provide their own water for drinking, cooking and washing

There is no tent, trailer or RV camping at the site

Gold Butte Lookout from access trail. Hip roof construction with catwalk surround and glassed walls. Interior of Gold Butte Lookout showing woodstove and edge of desk Interior of Gold Butte Lookout showing platform bed, fire finder stand, and small wooden desk Kitchen cabinet and woodbox inside Gold Butte Lookout. Good view out windows. Outhouse near Gold Butte Lookout showing path and wood steps and handrail leading up to it.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: 12/22/23: People can hike up to Gold Butte Lookout to access the viewpoint, but the rental facility is closed. There are impacts from the Bull Complex Fire that need to be remediated before Gold Butte Lookout can open for reservation. See map of Beachie Creek and Lionshead Fires closure (Detroit Ranger District).
Reservations: Reserve online at or phone 1.877.444.6777. The maximum length stay is four consecutive nights. There is a two night minimum length stay on weekends.
Fees: $80.00 per night
Usage: Heavy
  • Day visitors - If the rental is occupied, please respect the privacy of the occupants.
  • Check in time is 2:00 PM. Check out time is 11:00 AM.
  • 4 people maximum
  • The site does not have adequate space to accommodate tents
  • No smoking
  • Pets allowed
See special regulations for the area, including dispersed camping restrictions.
Closest Towns: Detroit, Oregon
Water: No water is available so visitors must pack in their own water for drinking, cooking and washing.
Restroom: An outhouse is located near the lookout.
Operated By: Willamette National Forest
Information Center: Detroit Ranger District
44125 North Santiam Highway SE
Detroit, OR 97342

General Information


GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
44.80528, -122.08222
44°48'19"N, 122°4'56"W

From Detroit Ranger Station, drive east on State Highway 22 toward the town of Detroit. Directly after crossing the bridge, take a left onto Forest Service Road (FSR) 46 (Breitenbush). Drive FSR 46 for about 4 miles to FSR 4696. Turn left (northeast) onto FSR 4696 and drive about three-quarters of a mile to FSR 4697. Turn left (north) onto FSR 4697 and drive about 5 miles to the saddle. Turn right onto FSR 451 and proceed to the first right (FSR 453). Proceed through the gate approximately half a mile to the parking area at the second green gate.

The last 2 miles of road access are rough gravel and dirt at a 10 percent uphill grade. Low clearance vehicles are not recommended. 

The lookout is located approximately half a mile from the parking area. You will be hiking on a road to a saddle and from there a steep trail to the summit.

General Notes:

In addition to relaxing and taking in the incredible views from Gold Butte, venture out and experience other recreation opportunities nearby. Nature abounds with wildflowers, wildlife and wild huckleberrys.


Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Cabin Rentals

Viewing Scenery

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  Latitude : 

  Longitude : 

  Elevation : 
4618 Feet