Get the Lookout Experience
Morton Peak Rental
Get an amazing unique experience by staying overnight in one of our historic Fire Lookout towers on the San Bernardino National Forest. If you don’t mind packing in your own gear and staying on top of the world, try renting Morton Peak lookout!
At 4624′ above sea level, the Morton Peak Lookout offers incredible 360-degree views of the San Bernardino Mountains, Santa Ana River Valley, and Inland Empire communities. Originally built in 1934, the Morton Peak lookout was destroyed by the Morton fire of 1959. Staffing the lookout that day was Aleta Johnson who was airlifted to safety before the tower went up in flames. The tower was rebuilt in 1961 and closed in the 1970s. In 2001, the lookout tower was refurbished and was back in operation.
Morton Peak Lookout is one of seven working lookouts on the San Bernardino National Forest that are managed and maintained by the Southern California Mountains Foundation Fire Lookout Program. Volunteers man the lookout daily during peak fire season.
Morton Peak Lookout is located off Hwy 38, overlooking the cities of Yucaipa and Mentone with spectacular views of Mill Creek leading up to Forest Falls as well as surrounding views of Mt. Palomar, Keller Meadows, Keller Cliffs, and the San Bernardino Valley.
Morton Peak Lookout is surrounded by mountains and forested areas that provide visitors with a “wilderness experience”. To the east is the vista of Mill Creek Canyon, Mt. San Bernardino and Galena Peak, to the north are views of Strawberry, Keller, Slide and Butler Peaks. To the west are the San Gabriel Mountains and to the south are the Crafton Hills. Activities include; hiking, mountain biking, relaxation, stargazing, and breathtaking views of sunrises and sunsets.
Morton Peak Lookout has no water, electricity or heat. The facility has a composting toilet. There is a trundle bed available in the 14′ x 14′ cab. You will need to bring sleeping gear, water, cooking stove and anything else you might need to camp. A picnic table is provided at the base of the lookout for cooking.
Thurman Flats picnic area is on Highway 38, about 3.5 miles northeast of the Mill Creek Ranger Station. This is one of the best bird watching areas on the Forest, with over 200 species seen here. Look in the incense cedars at the picnic area and in the alders growing along the creek: yellow warblers, and Lawrence’s goldfinch, scrub jays, hooded orioles, and northern orioles. Many of the birds are using the trees as a resting place while migrating to and from Central and South America. There is a large pavilion to provide shade over several picnic tables at Thurman Flats. BBQ grills are also provided.
Mill Creek is a mountain stream with pools and riffles that is accessible from the Thurman Flats picnic area. The California Department of Fish and Game plants rainbow trout twice per month in spring at locations along the stream below the Falls Picnic Area.
Forest Falls is nestled in a Canyon at the base of “Big Falls” waterfall, the community of Forest Falls presents a picturesque setting. The cool water and towering pines make it a frequent destination for summertime visitors. Easily reached by city dwellers during the winter months, it is the most popular destination on the Forest for winter snow play.
Yucaipa Regional Park offers a wide range of outdoor recreation including: fishing, horseshoes, disc golf, a swim complex with water slides, and sandy beach area. Camping surrounded by scenic vistas with running water, picnic tables and grills.
- Morton Peak Lookout is a working lookout. You are welcome to show up for your experience at 4:00pm and be up and dressed by 8:00am the following morning
- The lookout is on a 20 foot tower that you will need to climb up to access the cab.
- High clearance vehicle is recommended to travel a rough three mile dirt road to access the lookout.
- There is no smoking, no cooking or heaters, no alcohol beverages, and no fire arms of any kind allowed in the lookout.
- Caution: Bears, rattlesnakes, bobcats, and mountain lions frequent the area. Pick up all trash and keep the area clean.