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Indian Mountain

Indian Mountain

Okanogan Highlands | Priest Lake Selkirks

Idaho Panhandle National Forest

Location: 48.663566, -117.039299
Summit Elevation: 5,014′
Lookout Type: 40′ tower with L-4 cab
Site Established: 1933
Current Structure Built: 1953
Date Visited: 9/10/18

Indian Mountain Lookout has been staffed every season since the first tower was constructed in 1933. When the Kaniksu National Forest had over a dozen active lookouts, Indian Mountain was ranked first for initial detection reports.

Photos from 2018.


History.

Indian Mountain is barely a quarter mile inside Washington State from the Idaho border. The site was established in 1933 with a 30′ L-4 tower, then replaced in 1953 with the present 40′ treated timber tower with L-4 cab. The lookout is staffed in the summer and is on the National Historic Lookout Register.

Indian Mountain Lookout has been staffed every season since the first tower was constructed in 1933. When the Kaniksu National Forest had over a dozen active lookouts, Indian Mountain was ranked first for initial detection reports. The lookout is administered by the Priest Lake Ranger District.


The route.

Distance (RT): 3.3 miles*
Elevation Gain: 860′

*If the road is gated at 4,200′, Indian is a 3.3 mile round trip hike gaining 860′. If not gated, it’s about a 1.5 mile round trip hike to the summit on an old ridge trail.

From July 1 through Labor Day you can usually drive to within a mile of Indian’s summit, then hike a short ridge trail up. Outside of those dates the road is often gated around 4,200′ to help maintain huckleberries and wildlife habitat.

When I visited on September 10th in 2018 the gate was still open and I was able to drive to a small pullout area less than a mile from the summit. When I hiked back down I met a Forest Service officer who was sweeping the road to close the gate so I got super lucky! She said the gate opening/closing is oftentimes not exact depending on resources available to close them.

Route to Indian from road gate at 4,200′ with red denoting the forest service road walk and blue the ridge trail.

Directions.

It’s possible to approach Indian from both the north and south side off Highway 57 (West Side Road) near Priest Lake. I visited Indian after Sullivan, so I approached from the north, turning onto FS 1346 north of Nordman, Idaho and following it 5.8 miles to the road gate and turnoff to Indian Mountain Road (FS 1362). I drove out to the south, following FS 1346 to the Kalispell Creek Road and then over to Priest Lake for some dinner and camping. Be aware that several roads in the area have been decommissioned and aren’t accurately reflected in maps.