The Lookout on the Point
© 2001 Airphoto, Jim Wark. All rights reserved.
Rocky Point, which tops out at an elevation of 6,280 feet, stands well above the surrounding forest, permitting an unobstructed view of the surrounding terrain. The first permanent fire lookout here was built in 1934; it was rebuilt on a ten-foot-high concrete base in 1963. As of 2004 it had been staffed every summer since. Aerial surveillance gradually replaced permanent lookout towers such as this after about 1970, and the accuracy of GPS technology has proven still more reliable. Many lookout towers have been abandoned and dismantled, with a few preserved not only for their historic value but also for overnight rental by the U.S. Forest Service to recreationists.
The camera is aimed toward the southwest. The last mile of the road leading to the small parking area at lower left is steep, narrow, and too rough for passenger cars. The expedition approached the point from the west on the ridge that enters the photo at the upper right corner, and descended to the headwaters of the Lochsa at the lower left corner.
The View from Rocky Point Lookout
This partial (180°) panorama was shot from the north side of the lookout tower—the near right side in the aerial photo above. The apparently treeless areas have been logged and replanted, but the new growth is still too young to look like forest. The blackened area seen in the direction of Wagon Mountain, on Rascal Ridge, was burned in the summer of 2001 by the Crooked Fire. (Forest fires are given names for easy reference; this one was named after the drainage in which it occurred—Crooked Fork.) To the right of the fire scar, the two rough whiteish lines roughly beneath Lolo Peaks and St. Joseph Peak are road cuts on U.S. Highway 12, which connects Lewiston, Idaho, with Missoula, Montana.
Funded in part by a grant from the Idaho Governor's Lewis and Clark Trail Committee