Get a taste of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem with a hike to Cinnamon Mountain. Hike in solitude through stands of pines and small meadows up to an unused fire lookout on the top of Cinnamon Mountain. While you cannot go into the lookout, views of the rugged Lee Metcalf Wilderness and Custer Gallatin National Forest still extend in nearly every direction. Catch one of the best views of the majestic peaks in the Taylor-Hilgards from this very spot.
Spend the first several miles on Trail No. 6 hiking up along Cinnamon Creek. The trail is easy to follow but can be muddy and wet in areas into August. Be aware of other trail users; off-road motorcycles can be common on Trail No. 6 when the seasonal closure lifts in mid-July.
At the first junction, take a right onto Trail No. 73 and continue your upward journey. Soon you’ll emerge past the treeline for your earliest view of the Taylor-Hilgards in the Madison Range to the west. Hiking a little further opens up a decent view of the Gallatin Range to the east.
Switchback up the steep mountainside and come to a view of the fire lookout looming not far above you. Make the final push up to the ridge of Cinnamon Mountain. You’re first greeted by a weathered wooden post with signs indicating the direction and elevation of nearby mountains such as Taylor Peak, Gallatin Peak and Shedhorn Mountain. Find new vantage points along the ridge and take a well-earned break and lunch on one of the wooden stumps by the lookout.
The fire lookout was built by the Forest Service in 1957. It was rehabilitated in 1999, but currently stands empty and unavailable to public access. In 2008, the Cinnamon Mountain Lookout was registered as a National Historic Lookout, becoming one of 66 registered historic lookouts in Montana.