Madison Butte Lookout Traditional Geocache
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This is the 16th in my series of hides near fire lookouts.
Madison Butte, 5711', in the Umatilla National Forest, was established as a detection point in 1923, the first structure being a D-6 cupola cabin. It was replaced in 1957 by the present 30' all-steel live-in lookout tower. It is staffed every summer, generally from the second week of July to mid-September. Note for 2020: due to the COVID-19 pandemic, visitors will likely not be permitted inside staffed lookouts to protect the safety and wellness of the person on duty. The view from here is massive. The only direction blocked is the immediate north, as the lookout is located on the minor south summit. To the northeast are Black and Arbuckle Mountains, east are Tower and Desolation Lookouts with the Elkhorns in the backdrop, southeast are Dixie Lookout and the Strawberry Mountains, southwest are the Ochocos, west is Snowboard Ridge with Mt. Jefferson and Mt. Hood in the background, and northwest are miles upon miles of open rangeland with Mt. Adams and Mt. Rainier on the horizon. You are seeking a camo-painted plastic lock-n-lock container with logbook, writing instruments and a few trades. Your approach is from the northwest via the 033 spur road from Board Creek Road. You can come in either from the north via Road Canyon or the south via Parkers Mill from Highway 207. The access road is steep, rough, rocky and dusty in places; 4x4 highly suggested. The road to the lookout is closed to motorized travel (to protect wildlife habitat): May 1 - June 30 and again from October 15 - November 30. Snow should block the road from December 1 through April 30, leaving July 1 through October 14 as your target times to drive all the way. The rest of the year you'll either need to walk/snowshoe in or ride a horse/snowmobile. There is a gate 3 miles from the lookout which will be closed and locked during the seasonal closures.