Granite Butte Lookout
- Places to Stay, Forest Service Cabins, Biking/ Tours/ Rentals, Hiking/Backpacking, Horseback and Trail Rides/ Pakc Trips/ Sleigh Rides, Bird and Wildlife Viewing
- General info
While renting the Lookout, visitors can literally walk out onto the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail and enjoy a variety of day hike opportunities in the summer and cross-country skiing opportunities in the winter! Regardless of the season, visitors can always just simply admire the majestic panoramic views of the Scapegoat Wilderness, Big Belt Mountains, and Scratchgravel Hills from atop Montana’s Continental Divide.
The Continental Divide Trail passes right by the lookout tower and offers guests access to as many miles as they care to hike, bike, or ride on horseback. There are several other trails for guests to explore within a 1/2 hour drive. The cabin also offers winter recreation opportunities with cross-country skiing opportunities out the back door and nearby access to over 200 miles of groomed snowmobile trails. Open year-round.
The lookout is located approximately 16 miles southeast of Lincoln. It can be reached via Stemple Pass Road #601, which leaves downtown Lincoln at the blinking light and joins Highway 279 north of Helena. Follow Stemple Pass Road for approximately 14 miles to the top of the pass and then turn onto Marsh Creek Road #485. Follow Marsh Creek Road south approximately 3 miles until the junction of the Granite Butte Road #4133. The road gets narrower and rougher at this point and climbs the final 1.5 miles up to the lookout tower. High clearance vehicles are strongly recommended for the Granite Butte Road #4133. During the winter months, the Stemple Pass Road is plowed in its entirety, but visitors will have to snowmobile or ski in the final 4.5 miles. There is plowed parking available at the Stemple Pass cross country ski area. There are two recommended routes to the lookout. One follows the road as outlined above and the other roughly follows the Continental Divide. If you are planning on snowmobiling into the lookout in the later winter months it is recommended that you take the upper route on the Continental Divide as the Marsh Creek Road develops large wind drifts that are generally impassable by snowmobiles. Please be sure to follow all applicable motorized use restrictions when accessing the lookout and only operate motorized vehicles where allowed. Maps of the ski and snowmobile routes are available at the Lincoln Ranger District and at the Stemple Pass Trailhead. Renters are advised to take a map with them if they are unfamiliar with the area.
Courtesy of USDA Forest Service
Granite Butte is located atop the Continental Divide and is exposed to harsh site conditions. Strong winds are common year-round and temperatures drop to below zero temperatures in the winter months. Winter renters should be prepared for a 4-mile ski or snowmobile trip into the tower and to bring appropriate cold weather camping equipment and gear. Winter renters are encouraged to check weather conditions and to call the Lincoln Ranger Station for current conditions.
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