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Arid Peak Lookout

Hike-InRental ProgramElevation: 5306 ft

History

Arid Peak Lookout is a 1934 20′ L-4, originally built to watch for fires from the Milwaukee Railroad as it came down Loop Creek from the Montana line to the North Fork of the St. Joe River near Avery, Idaho. In 1969 the legs of the tower were replaced, but the lookout was not used again. In 1996 and 1997, the Idaho Chapter of the FFLA and the St. Joe Ranger District joined in a restoration project; all of the beams atop the legs and underneath the cab were replaced, as were the stairs which had collapsed in 1970. The fully-restored lookout is now on the Recreation Rental program, as it sits overlooking a companion project, “The Route of the Hiawatha”, a rail-trail being developed over the trestles and through the tunnels of the abandoned Milwaukee line. The tower is on the National Historic Lookout Register.

This tower is currently available for rent:
https://www.recreation.gov/camping/campgrounds/234447

Our Notes

Arid Peak is about a 3 mile fairly moderate hike in to the tower. We have visited/rented Arid Peak on two occasions, in 2012 and in 2022. Time seems to have made the stairs a bit more rickety than they were 10 years ago but is in otherwise good condition.

We were lucky enough to be at Arid during both an Aurora event and a thunder & lightning storm.

Our write up about this amazing adventure:

https://www.idahofirelookouts.com/lookout-adventures/i-feel-like-a-real-lookout-now/

Arid Peak Lookout with the milky way and the northern lights in the background. Photo by Billy Cooter

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