Garnet Mountain Fire Lookout

Gallatin Gateway, Montana

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Overview

Garnet Mountain Fire Lookout sits on the apex of Garnet Mountain, at an elevation of 8,245 feet. The lookout provides a panoramic view of the surrounding peaks and valleys. Highlights include the Spanish Peaks to the west, the Gallatin Range to the south, the Hyalite Ridge to the east and the Gallatin River Valley to the north.

The structure can be accessed by hiking, horseback or mountain bike on the Garnet Mountain Lookout Trail in the summer. The 4.5-mile trail gains 2,800 feet along its path. Motorcycles and ATVs can access the lookout via the Rat Lake Trail from June 16 through December 1. During winter months, guests must plan on skiing, snowmobiling or snowshoeing up to 10 miles.

Guests are responsible for their own travel arrangements and safety, and must bring several of their own amenities.

Recreation

Hikers, mountain bikers and off-road vehicle riders can access the same trail used to get to the lookout. Snowy conditions offer abundant opportunities for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Big game hunting for bear, elk or moose is a popular autumn pastime around Garnet Mountain.

Facilities

The lookout can sleep up to four people on provided bunk beds with mattresses. There is a wood stove for heat and propane stove for cooking. Other amenities include a table with chairs, basic cookware, dishes and utensils. A vault toilet is located outside the facility. Firewood is provided for the wood stove, and there is a campfire ring outside as well. Water and electricity are not available. Guests must bring their own water supply, as well as garbage bags for packing out trash. Items such as bedding, flashlights or lanterns, dish soap, extra toilet paper and first aid supplies are also not provided.

Natural Features

A fire lookout has existed on Garnet Mountain since 1930. The current structure was built in 1962. The lookout is available for reservation year-round. It is an excellent vantage point for watching sunrises and sunsets, or for gazing at the stars on a clear night. Grizzly bears are extremely common in this area, and gray wolves, mountain lions, deer, elk, moose, bighorn sheep and the Canada lynx also make their home here. A wide variety of bird species can also be seen.

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