Pine Mountain Lookout

Upper Lake, California (Mendocino County)

Last Updated: 01/14/2019
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Temporary Closure
Typically Open: Year Round
Length: 2.86 miles
Highest Elevation: 3780 feet
Duration: About 30 minutes
Shape of Trail: Out & Back
Best Direction to Travel: N/A
Nearest Town: Upper Lake
Nearest Town w/ Services: Upper Lake
Official Road Name: 18N05 to 17N03
Management Agency: Mendocino National Forest
District: Upper Lake District


Highlight: Pine Mountain Lookout
An easy dirt road winds through mixed douglas fir and ponderosa pine forest to reach a rustic former fire lookout which can be rented for two nights at a time. The lookout is perched on a stone outcropping at an elevation of 4,400 feet. There are 180-degree views of endless mountain peaks and verdant forest. A variety of bird species inhabit the forest, and visitors may spot eagles, owls, hawks and osprey. Black-tailed deer, jackrabbits, quail, and wild turkey are also often encountered. Pine Mountain Lookout was constructed in 1933 and used for fire detection until 1942. During World War II, the lookout served as part of an aircraft defense monitoring system that extended throughout California. This lookout is historically significant because it only offers 180-degree views of the surrounding terrain, while other lookouts have 360-degree views.


Route Information

Technical Rating

( EASY )

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1. Trailhead (0 mi)
Depart the bumpy M1 road and enjoy the smoother, more peaceful 18N05 Pine Mountain Road. Just .1 mile later you'll pass the seasonal gate.

Directions to Trailhead

Starting Point: Upper Lake

From Upper Lake, CA, take M1 - Elk Mountain Road to Waypoint 9. This is the trailhead.



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Writer Information

Vlad Mott

Mapping Crew - California

Vlad Mott is a longtime outdoors enthusiast who loves hiking, jeeping & backcountry adventure.
For individual use only, not to be shared.