Surveyors Lookout

Avery, Idaho

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Located near the Mallard-Larkins Pioneer Area Attractions, Surveyors Lookout is perched atop a 30 foot tower, providing phenomenal views of Snow Peak and the surrounding mountains. The cabin is listed on the National Historic Register for Lookouts and offers visitors a unique camping experience in the Idaho Panhandle National Forest.

The original pole structure lookout was built in 1931 as part of a network of lookouts used to spot fires in the Upper St. Joe Country. The original lookout was replaced with the current treated timber structure in 1964.

Access to the lookout is via a rugged single-lane road with pullouts, and is not recommended for low clearance vehicles. Road may be slick when wet.


The Mallard-Larkins Pioneer Area straddles the divide between the Little North Fork Clearwater River basins and the North Fork Clearwater River. This beautiful area attracts hikers and some technical rock climbers. Hunting and trout fishing are offered in designated areas.

From the lookout, there is access to Scribner Falls Trail #106 and nearby access to Surveyor's Ridge Trail #40, Horseshoe Loop Trail #141, and Northbound Creek Trail #111.

A scenic drive through the upper St. Joe country is an excellent way to take in the sights leading up to the lookout.


Surveyors Lookout can accommodate up to four guests. Furnishings include a propane cook stove, heater and lights. A twin bed and two extra mattresses are provided, along with a chest with some drawers. A refrigerator is also available, but it is very small and unreliable. It is recommended that guests bring a cooler with ice as backup. Cooking pots and utensils are included.

No drinking water is available; guests should bring plenty of their own. An alternate option is to collect water from a spring located 1.4 miles down the access road. This water is non-potable and must be boiled or treated before consuming.

Items to pack include food, bedding, a first aid kit, dish soap, towels, toiletries and binoculars. If planning to collect water from a stream, water containers are needed. Guests are advised to bring warm clothes and blankets for cold evenings. Although a heater is provided, the lookout is not insulated so it remains cold.

Natural Features

Surveyors Lookout is located atop Surveyors Ridge at an elevation of 6,000 feet. The 30 foot tower overlooks the spectacular Mallard-Larkins Pioneer Area, which straddles the divide between the Little North Fork Clearwater River basins and the North Fork Clearwater River. Snow Peak, Middle Sister and Mallard Peak Lookouts are still standing and can be seen from Surveyors.

Nearby Attractions

Avery is the nearest town for conveniences.


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