Cougar Peak Lookout

Cougar Peak Lookout

The Cougar Peak Lookout location is in Plains, Montana
59859. This page provides detailed contact information for this campground location including the campground phone number, office hours, reservation information and driving directions.

If you have any questions about the Cougar Peak Lookout facility, or if you need to reserve a campsite, then call the campground listed below.

408 Clayton, Po Box 429


Phone number


Campground information Plains, Montana


The Cougar Peak Lookout offers guests an opportunity to experience an old-time Forest Service lookout. The tower commands an impressive view of the river valley, the surrounding Cabinet Mountains and the opposing Coeur d’Alene Mountains. The structure is small and is not elevated like many other lookouts, and 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.


A variety of trails and points of exploration are accessible from the lookout. The Cougar Peak Trail follows the ridge below the lookout and travels towards Vermillion Pass to the northeast.

The Clark Fork River is dammed twice within an hour drive of the lookout. The Noxon Rapids and the Cabinet Gorge dams create reservoirs that have become popular spots for boating and fishing for large and smallmouth bass, as well as northern pike.


The 14-by-14 structure is small, but can accommodate up to four people. There is a full bed for two with a mattress pad, a table with two chairs, and a wood stove. No other furnishings are provided. A rustic outhouse with a vault toilet is available about 200 feet from the lookout, at the parking area.

Guests will need to bring water for drinking, cooking and cleaning purposes, as well as their own bedding and cots for additional sleeping options, cooking and eating equipment and fuel, cooking and eating utensils, flashlights, matches and toilet paper, among other necessities. There is no water available at the site. There is room for a small tent outside the tower.

Guests should be prepared for cold and often wet or damp weather, even if the weather in the valley is warm and dry. Food, garbage and other waste needs to be put away at all times to avoid attracting bears. Firewood may be collected locally for the wood stove.

Natural Features

The tower is situated in the Clark Fork River drainage, at an elevation of 6,694 feet, in the Cabinet Mountains of western Montana. It was built in 1952 to replace an existing, older structure dating back to the 1930s. The lookout was part of the old Cabinet National Forest, which was divided by the Forest Service in 1954 to become the Lolo National Forest.

The 2 million-acre forest includes four wilderness areas and a wide variety of trees, plants and wildlife. The area is home to mountain goats, bighorn sheep, elk, moose, deer and grizzly and black bears (learn more about bear safety). Both the bald and golden eagle reside in the forest, along with trumpeter swan, herons and dozens of varieties of ducks.

Frequently Asked Questions About 408 Clayton, Po Box 429 Plains, MT

How do I make a reservation with Cougar Peak Lookout?

To make reservations at Cougar Peak Lookout, you can call the office at 406-826-3821.

Where is Cougar Peak Lookout located?

The Cougar Peak Lookout is located at 408 Clayton, Po Box 429 in Plains,
. This is the location you will need to go to for camping and information.

Does Cougar Peak Lookout have tent or RV camping?

Cougar Peak Lookout offers both tent and RV camping, but to confirm you will need to call the office at 406-826-3821 to make sure things haven’t changed.

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