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Deadwood Lookout



Panoramic views from Deadwood Mountain!

Deadwood Lookout is less than three hours and about 80 miles from Boise which is an easy distance for a one-day trip, or you may want to rent the lookout and make it an overnighter! Because of how close it is to Boise it's also one of the most popular lookouts in the state. Perched on the top of Deadwood Mountain at 7,575 feet, it offers panoramic views of the area.

Deadwood Lookout was originally built in 1916 with a log crib platform. A 12'x12' frame cabin with cupola replaced it in 1924. In 1934, the ground-mounted L-4 cab was built and put into service in 1936. After a complete restoration that took 10 years, Deadwood Lookout is close to how it looked when it went into service in 1936 and is on the National Historic Lookout Register. This lookout was active for many years and is currently out of service but on standby, if needed. Unless called into service, it's available for rental at recreation.gov for a unique camping experience.

High clearance vehicles are recommended for the steep, narrow, dirt Forest Service road. Also, keep in mind that the closest town with services is Lowman, which is about 45-minutes away.


If you like hiking or mountain biking, there are nearby trails. Scott Mountain, Julie Creek and Nellie’s Basin are some of the popular trails in the area.

Staying overnight? You will have an unobstructed view of the changing colors of sunset before falling asleep beneath a star-filled night's sky. And with all of the windows in the lookout, be ready for a bright early morning sunrise!


We didn't stay overnight but instead decided to head back down the hill and turn up the main road to check out Scott Mountain Lookout.


Getting There

There are multiple ways to get to Deadwood Lookout. If you use an online mapping tool, the most likely route is the one directly below. We took a different route for a couple of reasons. Our plan was to visit three lookouts: Deadwood, Scott Mountain and Sunset Mountain. The other reason for our route is because we live on the far east side of Boise and heading up Highway 21 is closer for us. The route we did take is shown on the second map below.

This is the route we took:


STARTING POINT: Boise

DISTANCE FROM STARTING POINT: One way from home was approximately 80 miles

TIME TO REACH: Less than 3 hours

ROAD SURFACE: Dirt road up to the lookout

WHEN ACCESSIBLE: Summer, Early Fall

FEES: None, unless you rent the lookout

RECOMMENDED VEHICLES: High clearance

PET FRIENDLY: On leash recommended, but off leash is allowed

WHEN WE WENT: Early Fall


Repeater: Pilot Peak 145.310 KA7ERV

Repeater: Snowbank Mountain 146.620 W7VOI


I'm Here - Now What?

  • Bring your smart phone or a GPS

  • Bring your kids!

  • Bring your dog

  • Hiking - see links above to information about popular trails in the area

  • Biking

  • Photography

  • Wildlife and plant viewing

  • Picnicking

  • Geocaching

Geocache: Deadwood Lookout GC1E4D1

44.125117, -115.703483

HINT: Under the rock 10 feet north of larger of two pine trees

Geocache: Deadwood Grouse GC1E9QF

44.129283, -115.705417

"Located between Bog 7589 and Deadwood Lookout (private). A short stroll from the Forest Road. The approach road is often gated off and/or muddy from Oct-July and requires 4WD. Small clear plastic screw container with log and a few items."

HINT: Rolling Rocks


To learn more about geocaching and the app, go to www.geocaching.com.

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