Built in 1962, the Clear Lake Butte Lookout is ideally situated between Mount Hood to the north and Mount Jefferson to the south. The lookout also peers over Clear Lake, Timothy Lake and deep into the expanse of Eastern Oregon. If you are lucky enough to get a reservation in this heavily used winter accommodation, you’ll get some of the best views in the area.
The snowshoe or ski to the tower is short, but it is steep enough to encourage packing a light load. The route up from Forest Road 42 is sometimes groomed by the Mount Hood Snowmobile Club, which makes it easier to commute with a loaded pack. If you are choosing skis over snowshoes, the descent for your return is a quick thrill that asks for some advanced skills in some spots. Please refer to the Clear Lake Butte Lookout ski adventure for more information.
The tower sleeps four, has a wood stove for heat, and a small range for food preparation. The wood shed is near the base of the tower stairs, and it is common courtesy to leave cut wood on hand for the next guest. The station lists solar lighting as a possibility, but bring plenty of light just in case. An outhouse located just east of the tower completes the accommodation’s amenities. There is no running water, and guests may also want to bring sheets. If you have a party that is larger than four, there is plenty of additional space for tents around the base of the tower.