HISTORY: Little Guard lookout was one of the last remaining lookouts used in the Coeur d'Alene River area and has just recently become inactive. The structure standing today on Little Guard Peak is the third in a series of lookout buildings that originated back to 1919. In October 1990, Little Guard lookout was accepted for listing on the National Historic Lookout Register and the first in Idaho.
The original 1919 structure was a simple single-room, log building set on the ground and anchored at the corners with #9 wire. This structure was condemned in 1930 and at the time had an estimated value of $359. The remains of the original building are located along the ridge behind today's lookout structure. You can still see a rock foundation outline and the corner anchor wire.
The second lookout was constructed in 1929 at a cost of $547. It was a 14 x 14 foot cupola style structure resting on a rock foundation with a standard gabled roof.
The present day lookout is of the Forest Service standard L-6 design which refers to a ready cut, lookout house with 14 x 14 foot dimensions, an external cat walk and a gabled roof. It was assembled in 1957 at a cost of $4000.
Little Guard Peak was one of the important sites selected as part of the national lookout system that reached its zenith in the 1930's. The primary purpose of the fire lookout was for the detection of forest fires. The most notable wildfire that struck the inland Northwest in Idaho, Montana, and eastern Washington was the famous 1910 fire. When fires were detected, the lookout person would report the fire location to a dispatcher who would initiate fire suppression action. Initially, the communication was by telephone via miles and miles of telephone wire; but was later replaced with radio communications.
LOCATION: Little Guard Lookout is located up the North Fork of the Coeur d'Alene River north of Shoshone Base Camp. From I-90, take Exit #43 (Kingston) and drive 24 miles north on Forest Highway 9 to Prichard junction. From there continue on Forest Road 208 for approximately 5 miles to Forest Road 602 (which is on the right just past Shoshone Base Camp). Forest Road 602 is approximately 9 miles long and ends at the lookout. Because FS Rd. 602 is a steep gravel mountain road; vehicles with high clearance and good tires are recommended.
ATTRACTIONS: Spectacular views of the North Fork of the Coeur d'Alene River and Bitterroot Mountains.
ALTITUDE: 6031 ft.
REMARKS: We discourage bringing children under 7 years old to the lookout.
FACILITIES: The lookout includes a ground floor kitchen with a small propane refrigerator, propane cook stove, table, chairs and basic cooking utensils. (Forest Service will provide propane for the stove and refrigerator). A propane heater will be available for heating the upstairs. (Renters must provide propane for the heater) Lookout Cabin has a bed plus 3 set-up cots, folding chairs, fully operational fire- finder, and flag to run up the flagpole.
WATER: Not supplied.
SANITATION: pit toilet. Bio-degradable toilet paper is supplied.
VISITORS NEED TO BRING: bedding, water for drinking, washing etc., food, extra cooking supplies, flashlights or lanterns. Visitors must pack out all refuse.