National Monument Association

Fire Lookouts

Buck Rock Lookout, in the northern portion of the monument in the Hume Lake Ranger District, is one of the oldest fire lookout buildings still in use. Enjoy the spectacular 360-degree view from Buck Rock. Built in 1923, the tower is constructed on a 300-foot granite dome. Interpretive programs and events are posted online at

Four fire lookouts are located in the southern portion of the monument in the Western Divide Ranger District:

Needles Lookout, constructed in 1938 by the Civilian Conservation Corps, was destroyed by fire in 2011. The Forest Service currently has plans to reconstruct this historic lookout – sitting atop a series of massive granite rock formations above the North Fork of the Kern River at an elevation of 8,245 feet. A moderately difficult hike (5-mile round trip) will bring you to the lookout’s former location where you can enjoy panoramic views of the Golden Trout Wilderness and Kern River Canyon.

Mule Peak Lookout can be reached by a short, but steep hike.

Jordan Peak Lookout is about a 500-foot climb above the trailhead.

Tobias Lookout, built in 1935 by the Civilian Conservation Corps, can be reached after a 50- foot moderate climb, including the walkway.

The Kern River Ranger District has two lookouts:

Bald Mountain Lookout is on the Kern Plateau at an elevation of 9,430 feet. Enjoy views of the Dome Land, Golden Trout and South Sierra wildernesses, Olancha Peak, and Mount Whitney.

Oak Flat Lookout, available for overnight rental, is located at an elevation of 4,900 feet. The lookout was constructed in 1934 and retired from duty in 1984. With views of the surrounding oak woodlands, the scenic Lower Kern River, and the rugged Greenhorn Mountains, the lookout provides great opportunities to view wildlife. Spring wildflower displays can be spectacular from March through early May.