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Epic Fire Lookouts: Saddle Mountain

Low effort, high reward lookout hike in Nakusp.

Hiking Moderate

4 km
624 m
13 m
1-2 hrs
Low Point
1.6 km
High Point
2.3 km
Epic Fire Lookouts: Saddle Mountain Map

Located just outside of the quaint town of Nakusp off the Arrow Park Cable Ferry (see below for ferry info), this ~9km out-and-back trail starts just slightly below tree line of the Monashee Range of the Kootenays in Beautiful British Columbia at the end of Saddle Mountain Forest Service Road.


Saddle Mountain FSR is fairly well maintained, with a few small cross ditches that a capable driver in a 2WD vehicle should easily be able to navigate. There is now a 2nd trail head that cuts ~1.5km off the original hike. Access this 2nd trailhead by continuing past the 1st trail head until you hit the end of the road, where you’ll likely see cars parked.

Once at the trail head, the hike starts off with some moderate elevation gain and you are out and above tree line within 2.5km. Keep in mind that there are no viable water sources along this trail, and it gets quite hot during the day with no shade until you reach the lookout, so bring plenty of water. We’d recommend at least 4L each if you are staying overnight with a dog for cooking, coffee & drinking.

Coming above tree line, you will start gaining along switchbacks, navigating boulder fields & scree…where you’ll stare at the lookout and wonder how in the world you’ll get up there. Keep climbing up the switchbacks for roughly 500m until you reach the chimney which will require roughly 20m of Class 3 or Class 4 scrambling…depending on who you ask. Topping out of the chimney, you’ll find yourself at the top of Saddle Mountain, with the lookout right there.

The lookout offers plenty of room for 5-7 people. The two raised sleeping platforms have room for 3 and 2 people, with space for 2 on the floor comfortably. In an emergency, up to 12 people could be crammed in if squeezing under the platforms & table. The outhouse, which could use a new toilet seat is also shielded / grounded against lightning, so can be used as an emergency shelter if needed.

Inside the lookout, the table offers plenty of room for cooking & games, while the various plaques showcase the history behind the lookout and some geographical info on the Monashee mountain ranges.

The sub-peak, which is only a quick 5-minute run offers additional views and is a fun, Class 4 scramble.

DOGS: Dogs are permitted on this trail.

NOTE: Bears are common in this area.

FERRY INFO: If coming from the Okanagan, you'll be taking two ferries. The Needles Cable Ferry, which runs every 30-mins between 5AM - 10PM (and on-demand after-hours), and the Arrow Park Cable Ferry, which runs on-demand between 5AM - 9:20PM, with a break between 12PM - 2:15PM. The latest ferry information can be found on the BC Ministry of Transportation site here: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/transportation/passenger-travel/water-travel/inland-ferries



Hiking along trails with some uneven terrain and small hills. Small rocks and roots may be present.

Best time to visit

between July and October


  • Alpine
  • Wildlife
  • Historical
  • Picturesque
  • Summit Hike
  • Dog friendly
  • Wild flowers