West Fork Butte Lookout is an ideal place for guests to experience the mountains south of Missoula from a unique vantage point. The facility provides near-360-degree views of the surrounding area. It is equipped with basic supplies and provides guests a base camp location from which to explore the area.
Access by vehicle is available for a relatively short time during the summer months and is variable during the spring and fall. If the gate at the bottom of Forest Road 37 is closed, guests may have to hike, ski or snowmobile roughly 7.5 miles to the facility. Please call the Missoula Ranger District to check gate status. Guests are responsible for their own travel arrangements and safety, and must bring several of their own amenities.
Hiking trails are available in the area. Visitors often bring cross-country skis or snowshoes for wintertime fun. Snowmobiles are often used to reach the lookout in the winter, and there is a system of groomed trails to explore nearby.
Fishing is available in Lolo Creek.
The lookout can sleep up to four people and is equipped with bunk beds and mattress pads. The lookout also has a table and chairs, a propane cook stove and lantern, as well as a wood stove for heat. Cleaning supplies, kitchen utensils, cookware and other amenities may be available, but are not always guaranteed; call for availability, (406) 329-3814. A vault toilet is provided.
Guests should bring their own water for drinking, cooking and cleaning purposes. Bedding and towels, propane fuel canisters, flashlights, matches, lighters, garbage bags, toilet paper and cleaning supplies are not supplied at the facility. Guests are responsible for cleaning the lookout prior to departure.
The 14-by-14' lookout is situated on a rocky knob with spectacular views of the surrounding area, including Lolo Peak, the Bitterroot Mountains and the Lolo Creek drainage. The lookout is close to the Montana-Idaho border and Lolo Pass.
The surrounding forest is comprised primarily of lodgepole pine and larch. The area is home to elk, moose, deer and black bears.