Morton Peak Fire Lookout Open for Year-Round Overnight Visits!
At 4624' above sea level, Morton Peak offers incredible 360-degree views of the San Bernardino Mountains
Jun. 06, 2006
Overnight guests will be treated to a self-guided interpretive experience in which they learn about the history of the lookout, the role that lookouts play in spotting fires today and years ago, and stories from people who staffed this lookout.
Guests need to be prepared to enjoy their "camp in," bringing everything except the tent and bed. Perched atop a 30-foot tower, the lookout provides a 14X14 room with windows on all four sides, two side-by-side twin beds, and an observation deck that surrounds the cabin. Down below there is a composting outhouse and picnic table. Guests need to bring their own water, sleeping bags, food, flashlight or lantern, camp games or cards, binoculars, and whatever else they desire for their comfort. Gas stoves are allowed for cooking; no charcoal BBQ's or campfires are allowed. Access is via a Forest Service road. It takes an assertive two-wheel driver, but 4x4 is best to access.
In 2001, volunteer Fire Lookout Hosts, who staff and maintain a total of seven fire lookouts in the San Bernardino National Forest, restored the
Morton Peak lookout, which was slated for demolition. All the windows
were gone, stairs were missing, the roof needed repairs, the cab floor had
holes, and the walls were riddled with bullet holes. With the help of Forest Service firefighters and funds from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the volunteers restored the lookout and have been staffing it ever since.
Proceeds from the Overnight Lookout Program will be reinvested in maintaining the seven working lookouts and the volunteer corps that
operates them. The SBNFA operates the Lookout Program under permit to the USDA Forest Service.
"We have about 300 volunteers who contribute 14,000 hours each year
standing watch in lookouts and helping to maintain them," said George
Morey, Fire Lookout Coordinator, who oversees the Lookout Program.
"Every year they call in several first reports of smoke and assist the Forest
Service in verifying and locating many others. This program will help
generate the revenue we need to operate the volunteer program and maintain
the lookouts. Plus, it offers a really unique way for people to get away and connect with the Forest."
He added that star-watchers would enjoy the view on no moon nights while full moon nights offer spectacular views of the mountains.
Reservations are managed through The Big Bear Resort Association Reservations at 800-4-BIG-BEAR (1-800-424-4232). Costs for the
overnight experience are $75 on weekdays and $85 on weekends and holidays. The season for overnight is year-round, weather and fire permitting.