13 Feb 2017 06.27.30 PM
Glacier National Park was established in the year 1910, the same year that more than 300 million acres of land were torched throughout the Pacific Northwest. Due to the intensity of wildfires that year, when Glacier was established, it became one of the leading parks for fire protection. In fact, Glacier’s fire management plan was the first created by the National Park Service. It was also the first park to have a dedicated fire crew as well as a fire control expert and fire lookout towers. Originally, there were 17 of these lookout stations situated throughout the park. Thanks to more advanced fire detection technologies, only four of these stations are still in use today. The nine lookouts still standing make fantastic hiking destinations for travelers to visit.
Elevation Gain: 2,930 ft GPS Coordinates: 48.88373 -114.17992
Details: Accessed via the Bowman Lake Trailhead, the path to Numa Ridge Lookout leads up a steep slope along the Numa Ridge. Once you reach the fire lookout, you’ll find fantastic views of Rainbow Peak, Square Peak, Mount Carter, and the serene Bowman Lake.
Scalplock Lookout Built: 1931 Distance: 4.7 miles
Elevation Gain: 3,079 ft GPS Coordinates: 48.29958 -113.57467
Details: The Scalplock Lookout Trail is located next to the Walton Ranger Station off Highway 2. Travel along the peaceful middle fork of the Flathead River, then across the Ole Creek suspension bridge, all the way to Firebrand Pass. Once you reach the lookout, you’ll be greeted by breathtaking panoramic views that stretch across the entire southern region of Glacier National Park.
Swiftcurrent Lookout Built: 1935 Distance: 6.2 miles
Elevation Gain: 4,178 ft
GPS Coordinates: 48.78543 -113.76703
Details: One of the most diverse trails in Glacier National Park, Swiftcurrent Lookout leads hikers up through the center of the awe-inspiring Swiftcurrent Valley and the continental divide. This is a strenuous hike, but well worth the trip for experienced hikers as this trail provides unforgettable views of Fishercap Lake, Red Rock Lake, Red Rock Falls, Swiftcurrent Headwall and more!
Huckleberry Mountain Lookout Built: 1968 Distance: 6 miles
Elevation Gain: 3,403 ft GPS Coordinates: 48.60017 -114.13410
Details: You’ll find the trailhead for Huckleberry Mountain Lookout along Camas Road, just 6 miles north of Apgar Village. This trail provides a steady climb upwards, but has less of an elevation gain than most of the fire lookout trails. Huckleberry Mountain Lookout Trail leads hikers through a lush, evergreen forest, the lookout offering views of blue skies and deep greenery that stretch in all directions.
Elevation Gain: 1,835 ft GPS Coordinates: 48.51809 -114.02070
Details: The Apgar Lookout Trail is located in the Southwestern region of Glacier National Park, a few miles from the West Glacier Entrance. The Apgar Lookout Trail is one of the easier fire lookout trails with a smaller elevation gain and a distance of less than 3 miles. This trail leads past areas filled with dead trees leftover from a 2003 fire. A couple switchbacks lead up to the lookout that offers grand views of the glacial peaks and the sparkling waters of Lake McDonald.
Mount Brown Lookout Built: 1929 Distance: 5.4 miles
Elevation Gain: 4,305 ft GPS Coordinates: 48.62854 -113.83376
Details: Glacier National Park’s Mount Brown Lookout is not recommended for the average park guest as the trail gains over 4,300 feet in less than 6 miles. As you climb the trail, you’ll pass through an old, Cedar forest. When you reach the lookout, spectacular views of Lake McDonald, Mount Edwards and Mount Cleveland, the highest peak in Glacier National Park, await!
Loneman Lookout Built: 1929 Distance: 7 miles
Elevation Gain: 3,900 ft GPS Coordinates: 48.48899 -113.76963
Details: The Loneman Lookout is great for those who enjoy fording streams and rivers! Hikers will have to pass through the Middle Fork of the Flathead River as well as the Nyack Creek. The trek really pays off once you make it up to the lookout where visitors can find a rare glimpse into the Nyack Valley, the Harrison Lake Valley, and the Great Bear Wilderness.
Porcupine Ridge Lookout Built: 1939 Distance: 2.8 miles Elevation: 7,100 ft
GPS Coordinates: 48.91056 -113.92754
Details: The Porcupine Ridge Lookout is located along the Kootenai Lakes Trail and is a wonderful location for viewing wildlife as the area is known to be heavily populated with moose. From the lookout, hikers will find a magnificent view of the Citadel Peaks, an iconic Glacier landmark.
Heaven’s Peak Lookout Built: 1945
Distance: 6 miles
Elevation: 3,600 ft
GPS Coordinates: 48.74899 -113.87591
Details: Heaven’s Peak Lookout is located along the edge of a sheer, 1000 foot drop. From the lookout, hikers can gaze upon Evangeline Lake far below to the west with Longfellow Mountain and Paul Bunyan’s Cabin.
Today, Glacier National Park still receives top-of-the-line protection for wildfires. Though many of its fire lookouts remain unmanned, these historic locations make great hiking destinations. For unforgettable views and miles of territory to explore, Glacier National Park has much to offer curious visitors.