KEEP VIGIL

GAR­NET MOUN­TAIN FIRE LOOK­OUT CUSTER GALLATIN NA­TIONAL FOR­EST, MON­TANA

Backpacker - - VIEW WITH A ROOM -

The top-of-the-world views that once made this look­out ideal for wild­land fire spot­ters— un­ob­structed van­tages north down the Gallatin River Val­ley, east to Hyalite Ridge, south to the Gallatin Range, and west to the Span­ish Peaks—make it just as great for hik­ers. In Oc­to­ber, scan for a dif­fer­ent kind of blaze from the wrap-around porch: yel­low patches of larch and as­pen. It’s a straight­for­ward, 3.5mile hike via the Gar­net Moun­tain Na­tional Re­cre­ation Trail to the two-story tower (with win­ter clo­sures, it can be up to 12 miles via Storm Cas­tle and Rat Lake Roads). Claim one of four beds, then hit the trail: The Gar­net Moun­tain Trail con­tin­ues south to a faint user path to the twin Pi­o­neer Lakes.

Trail­head Storm Cas­tle Peak Sea­son Year­round (snow­shoe or ski in win­ter) Ameni­ties Bunks with mat­tresses; wood-burn­ing stove; two-burner stove (BYO propane) Reser­va­tion $30/night; re­cre­ation.gov Con­tact bit.do/ gar­net-moun­tain-fire-look­out

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