Hike-in Required
Potable water
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Constucted in 1934 as a Civilian Conservation Corps project, Black Mountain Lookout on the eastern edge of Plumas National Forest sits at about 7,050 feet and offers two single beds with an additional camping area outside. Available for rent from the Forest Service, the lookout tower includes beds, a table and chairs, a mini fridge and heater, windows and a walkway that circle the tower cabin, a picnic table, and a vault toilet. Electricity is available, however, visitors must bring all of their drinking, cooking, and cleaning water, bedding, cleaning supplies, and utensils. Four-wheel drive cars with high clearance are strongly recommended for the 10-mile drive from Highway 395 and can drive right to the base of the stairs, with the cabin itself set about 10 feet above the ground.

The easiest access is a rural stretch of Highway 395 between Reno and Susanville, and the combination of the tower's rural and isolated location means you're almost ensured to be the only ones on the mountain. Frenchman Lake is located about a 30-minute drive from the tower, and there are no hiking trails nearby, with the exception of the quarter-mile road leading to the radio towers on the peak of the mountain.

Past guests have left a couple board games inside Black Mountain Lookout. With two single beds, the forest service permits up to four guests sleeping inside the cabin and allows up to four more to camp outside the tower, with 8 guests maximum. The cabin is available for rent during peak season—Memorial Day through late October—with reservations open 6 months in advance, and the calendar tends to book up quickly. As of the 2019 season, rates are $60 per night.

Logistics + Planning


Frequently full

Parking Pass

Campsite fee

Open Year-round


Open from

May 15 to October 30

Price per night



Amazing views. Isolated. Great assortment of amenities.


No hiking trails nearby. No water.

Pets allowed


Reservations possible


Managed by

Plumas National Forest

Reservation phone number

1 (530) 836-2575


Vault toilet
Family friendly
Big vistas



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