It has been 2 years since I have made the short hike to the historic lookout atop Skookum Butte. This time, Vida joined me, well, she rather tolerated me as my hiking speed was limited to a crawl due to a cause of bronchitis and asthma (together in some kind of oxygen-deprived stew of disease). After a hard hour, we made it to the base of the granite pile that the lookout sits upon. A quick scramble up with Vida giggling the whole way (she has a thing for climbing over boulders), we explored the old L-5 lookout (cabin-style).
Skookum Butte sits on the Montana/Idaho border at 7215 feet. An ancient lookout sits atop of the knob of pillow granite. The Skookum Butte Lookout is one of only three remaining L-5 log/frame ground houses remaining. The wood has aged to barnwood gray, and the entire structure seems to be in danger of collapse at some point.
Take US Hwy 12 for 10 miles from Lolo to Elk Meadows Road 451. Continue on this well-maintained gravel road for 12.1 miles. Look for the Forest Service Road sign for FR 2186. Turn right and travel 0.5 miles to the trailhead.
- Trail: Skookum Butte Trail #304
- Distance: 1.4 miles
- Elevation Gain: 932 feet