Location: 48.63364, -117.06297 Summit Elevation: 4,320′ Lookout Type: patrol platform tower Site Established: 1934 Current Structure Built: unknown Date Visited: 9/11/18
There’s no telling how long the old fire patrol tower at Diamond Peak will stand. Getting there requires a little brush bashing and bushwhacking but provides a fun glimpse of history. Footings and a helipad still remain at the original lookout site a half mile away.
Photos from 2018. Diamond Peak patrol photos are “borrowed” since I lost photos off my camera after visiting the former lookout site.
A 50′ pole tower with L-4 cab was built on Diamond Peak in 1934 and was used until the late 1950s. About 3/4 mile from the lookout, a patrol tower was built to look into blind spots the tower on Diamond Peak couldn’t see. The Diamond Peak lookout was destroyed sometime around 1960 but the footings and helipad markings still remain on site. The patrol tower is still standing though in very poor condition. It’s hard to say how long this structure will remain.
Distance (RT): 4.2 miles Elevation Gain: 920′
The best route to the Diamond Peak patrol tower takes you right past the old Diamond Peak summit and lookout site, so it’s worthwhile to visit both. The route starts from a gated road just to the southeast of Petit Lake, following an old overgrown logging road (NF-657A) to the summit of Diamond Peak. The route requires a moderate amount of bushwhacking, brush bashing, and alder hopping, but is generally straight-forward.
At the last turn before the summit, there is a faint trail that heads easterly across the ridge of Diamond Peak and leads about a half mile to the old patrol tower. Again, this route requires some navigation and brush bashing but is generally straight-forward staying along the ridgeline.
Unfortunately during my visit, I got caught in a pretty major downpour and while putting my good point and shoot camera away, managed to delete several days of photos. Luckily I had already transferred many photos to my phone but sadly, I lost all photos of the patrol tower. The only ones I have from the trip were taken on my phone of the former lookout site. I guess I need to get back for another photo opportunity!
Heading up the abandoned forest road to the summit of Diamond Peak.Looking down at Petit Lake.The old lookout site footings and helipad.A cloudy storm day from Diamond Peak.Former site lookout footings.
It’s possible to get to Petit Lake from both the west, going past Kalispell Rock, or from the north. I approached from Kalispell Rock at in 2018, the road was in reasonably good shape for most vehicles. Find a gated road at the intersection of NF-311 and NF-657 just to the southeast of Petit Lake. Park and bushwhack to the summit.