One of the best things about living in the Pacific Northwest is exploring so many amazing destinations close to home. Our family camped in the Lunch Peak fire lookout in Idaho, where we enjoyed a great family adventure. We packed up our jeep with our family camping gear and drove about an hour to the fire lookout. Although, fire lookouts serve as surveillance buildings for the National Forest Service, people can reserve one for a campout when there isn’t a fire nearby.
Video: Camping with Kids at Lunch Peak Lookout
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Drive Up to the Lunch Peak Lookout
Lunch Peak Lookout, located near Sandpoint, is just one of dozens of fire lookouts in Idaho. It overlooks the Cabinet Mountain Wilderness and the Selkirk Mountains. We could see the lookout up on the ridge long before we drove up the gravel road leading to the structure. During our campout the wind blew very strongly, which only added to the feeling of adventure!
The lookout itself is a raised building with stairs leading up to a single room surrounded by windows. A narrow deck with a railing runs around the entire exterior of the fire lookout. Even from inside, we could see 360 degrees of beautiful views of the mountains. Some of the windows have shades which can be unrolled to block light.
Inside the Fire Lookout
We thought the interior of Lunch Peak Lookout was very cozy and welcoming. Our kids helped set up our camping mats and sleeping bags on the floor of the lookout. We brought a change of clothes, basic cosmetics, snacks, easy breakfast food, and water. Additionally, we brought a 5-gallon bucket for a toilet. Although there is an outhouse nearby, it’s located fairly far down the gravel road that leads to the lookout.
Ultimately, we found it very easy to set up the lookout for an overnight campout.
The wood floor of the lookout provided plenty of space to spread out camping mats and sleeping bags for our family of 5. Furthermore, the one-room lookout felt very cozy, with no drafty windows. Finally, our campout spot came with amazing views!
Campfire with a View
The wind blew strongly during our stay at Lunch Peak fire lookout. We parked our jeep to the side of our campfire to block the wind. For dinner, we roasted hot dogs and heated up water to make instant noodles. We could see beautiful forests and misty mountains in all directions, and in the evening we watched the sunset.
We even saw a glimpse of Lake Pend Oreille from Lunch Peak Lookout near Sandpoint, Idaho.
In addition to being a great camping spot, Lunch Peak Lookout is a point of interest for off-road riders. That may be because it’s easy to see the lookout from the surrounding roads. During our campout, we had several groups of ATV and dirt bike riders come up to the lookout. They were very friendly and also seemed to enjoy the wilderness views.
Morning bathroom break — the outhouse near the Lunch Peak Lookout is down this gravel road, just around the bend. It’s a nice walk in the morning, but it’s much too far to take kids in the darkness at night. In contrast, our 5-gallon toilet bucket served us well up in the lookout; a must-have for camping with young kids!
Family Camping List
Our family, camp chairs, campfire and our jeep; we had everything we needed for an off-road camping adventure at Lunch Peak fire lookout! Without a doubt, this lookout was an awesome North Idaho camping destination with kids!
What did we bring? We kept our family camping gear list pretty simple.
- sleeping bags
- sleeping mats
- change of clothes
- hiking shoes
- toothbrushes, toothpaste, face wash wipes
- water bottles
- 5 gallon toilet bucket
- camp chairs
- s’mores sticks
- breakfast and campfire food
Dusk, twilight and dawn are all beautiful in the amazing wilderness surrounding Lunch Peak lookout in the Pacific Northwest.
If your family enjoys simple and memorable adventures, you will love staying in a fire lookout. Kids will enjoy the novelty and adults will appreciate the shelter and views. Just an hour from our home in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Lunch Peak is definitely a fire lookout we will stay in again!
Hi, I’m Katie! I live with my husband and 3 kids in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. I love Jesus, coffee, creative projects, taking photos and traveling. I’ve previously worked as a web designer, journalist and barista. I hope you enjoy our creative projects and family adventures!