There’s something magical about coming up on “your” lookout on the top of a mountain. Sometimes you can see the lookout in the distance as you’re hiking, and it slowly, slowly, gets closer.
But other times, particularly if you can drive to the lookout, you come up on it suddenly – a wonderful little surprise. That’s the case with the Monument Peak Lookout. After miles on increasingly rough roads, the last 1/2 mile track heads straight uphill. When you top the last pitch, the lookout appears: a tightly shuttered little treasure box perched on top of the world.
Once the shutters are open, it looks just like the jewelry box that sat on my dresser when I was growing up.
Monument Peak Lookout is located in the Little Belt Mountains in central Montana, not far from the old mining town of Neihart. Unlike the other two lookouts that we’ve rented (and written about here), you can drive to Monument Peak. It’s about 25 miles of gravel road, and the last four miles is fairly rough, but driving means you can pack in all the water and heavy snacks you want, which is quite a luxury.
The lookout was originally on a tower, but in 1998 the Forest Service took it off its “legs” and restored it. I’ve searched for photographs off the “de-towering” process, but haven’t found any. How do you think they did it? I’m guessing they hauled a crane way up there, but maybe they used a helicopter? Would loved to have been there to see the action.
Once the shutters are up, it’s the perfect hideaway, with nothing to do but explore, cook some good food, and sit on the porch and watch the sun set.