Type: 80′ steel tower
Status: No longer staffed
Visited: June 11, 2021
After visiting East Butte I drove through the rain over to Fox Butte. From Road 23 I turned onto 550.
There’s a geocache up on the summit and the description said: “The last 3/4 mile up to the lookout is gated. Believe the signs when they say “locked gate” with no turnarounds. If you do drive up to the locked gate be prepared to back down a nasty side hill road for almost 1/2 mile.” I never saw a sign, so imagine my surprise when I reached the gate:
There was indeed no way to turn my Subaru Outback around, so I drove in reverse 0.4 miles down the hill to a spot where I could turn around. This spot happened to be where the road took a sharp turn and a Fox Butte sign pointed the way, which I had seen on the way up. After I got out of the car I noticed someone had written on the sign in sharpie: “Locked gate 3/4 way up. No turn around.” Well no wonder I didn’t see it! That’s not a warning sign. It’s a hand-written note in black ink on a dark brown sign. Driving by in one’s car it looks like graffiti, if you happen to see it at all.
I sat in my car for 45 minutes waiting for the rain to stop, but it didn’t so I started walking:
After 1.1 miles I reached the summit where an 80-foot-tall Aeromoter tower stands along with an L-4 ground cabin:
The Forest Service has recently proposed a Building Disposal Project and both these structures are on the list for removal. This lookout was staffed full-time in 1995 while the new lookout was being built at East Butte. In the 26 years since the cabin has fallen into disrepair:
The stairs up the tower are still intact but I only went to the first landing. There was no point in going higher on such a miserable day, not to mention I wasn’t sure how safe it was:
I headed down the steep slope to look for the geocache but was losing too much elevation that I didn’t want to re-climb in the rain, so I abandoned the plan and headed back to my car, taking one photo of the “view” from the road on the way down: