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Camping at Black Mountain Lookout Campground

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Black Mountain Lookout Campground is located within the Plumas National Forest, which sprawls across the Sierra Nevada in northern California. The campground offers a unique experience as it features a fire lookout tower that can be reserved for overnight stays. Visitors can enjoy panoramic views and a sense of solitude while having a centralized base to explore the surrounding forest.

Reservations and Fees

Reservations for camping at Black Mountain Lookout can be made in advance, typically through the USDA Forest Service’s reservation system or a similar service. Because the lookout is popular, it's wise to book well ahead of your planned trip. There is a fee for staying at the lookout, and it varies depending on the season and services provided. It's important to check the current rates and availability when planning your stay.


The lookout tower often has basic accommodations, including beds and mattresses for sleeping and sometimes basic cooking utensils. However, amenities are minimal, and visitors should be prepared to bring most of what they will need, including:

  • Sleeping bags
  • Food and a reliable way to store it away from wildlife
  • Water for drinking and cooking
  • A cooking stove, if one isn't provided
  • Lanterns or flashlights


Access to Black Mountain Lookout may depend on the weather and the season, as snow can limit vehicular access. Some lookouts are only accessible by high-clearance vehicles, or might involve a hike to reach the tower. Being prepared for the conditions and checking access information ahead of your visit is important.


Visitors can enjoy a variety of activities in the surrounding Plumas National Forest such as:

  • Hiking: Numerous trails are available for all skill levels.
  • Wildlife Viewing: The area is rich in wildlife, including birds, deer, and other forest creatures.
  • Photography: The scenic vistas are perfect for photography enthusiasts.
  • Stargazing: With minimal light pollution, the night skies are ideal for stargazing.

Safety and Regulations

Staying safe is vital, and there are several things to keep in mind:

  • Fire Safety: Know the current fire restrictions. Campfires may not be allowed, or may require a permit.
  • Wildlife: Store food properly to avoid attracting bears and other wildlife.
  • Weather: Be prepared for changing weather conditions, especially at higher elevations.
  • Leave No Trace: Pack out all garbage and follow Leave No Trace principles to help preserve the natural environment.

Contact Information

It's a good idea to check with the Plumas National Forest ranger district for the most current information regarding conditions, closures, and regulations before heading out to Black Mountain Lookout. Contact information for the Forest Service can usually be found on their official website or by a simple web search.

Please note, information such as access, fees, and specific rules can change, so it's always best to get the latest details directly from official sources prior to your trip.

Location of Black Mountain Lookout Campground
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