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11 – Thorn Creek Lookout

Thorn Creek Butte Lookout Tower is a fire lookout tower located at an elevation of 7,550 feet in Boise County, Idaho. The tower was built in 1933 and has a 10-foot base and an L-4. The summit of Thorn Creek Butte is often staffed during the summer.

The lookout offers 360-degree views of the Mores Creek and Middle Fork Boise River drainages. It also has views of The Trinities, Idaho City, Atlanta, and the Sawtooths.

To reach the road that leads to Thorn Creek Butte, take ID-21 east of Idaho City. The turn is signed for Thorn Creek Butte.

More Information

All Trails Website

Coordinates: 43.74470, -115.75160
Elevation: 7480 ft
Difficulty: 3
What to Expect: Expect solid 3+ sections in difficulty

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Typical forest service road. Typical pickup driving on the left around blind corners.

What bike did you take?
Husky 901e
Ride Difficulty (1 to 5)

Nice ride to lookout. Someday would like to go back and continue on road past lookout.

What bike did you take?
KTM 890 R
Ride Difficulty (1 to 5)

I got momentarily disoriented several times between Idaho City and the lookout. I ended up on several trails I had no business on with a 600lb bike! If you stay on the main roads, this challenge point is a level 2, except for the last 500 yards or so, which are level 3+, especially if a young guy on a 2-stroke comes screaming down from the lookout as you are going up.

What bike did you take?
Ride Difficulty (1 to 5)

Fun ride to Thorn Creek today

What bike did you take?
Husky 901
Ride Difficulty (1 to 5)

First time into Thorn Cr Lookout. 304 trail/road is in good condition. Chatted with a couple of Fire Rangers at the lookout. Zoul and lookout attendant were no where to be seen. Great weather!

What bike did you take?
Ride Difficulty (1 to 5)

I have been to Thorn Creek many times this year but not on a bike. I made a route LV5 that would put a little fun and challenge in the ride. You can take 304 up and around which is a maintained dirt road for the most part. The last section at the lookout is an off-camber and rocky part. The dog Zoul will eat your samwhich out of your hand if you are not watching, lol. The lookout attendant is friendly and welcomes visitors. There is a sign at the gate that was up when I arrived. I will upload my GPX file and a video of the last section of the lookout to the forum.

What bike did you take?
24 Husky TE300
Ride Difficulty (1 to 5)

I did this ride yesterday via an atv trail (cottonwood creek) that had previously turned me around because it was too difficult for me. Today was total success though. It’s good to see progress in my riding over the years. The beginning of ride was spent crossing and riding in a creek bed. This was right on the edge of my ability alone on the KTM 790 ADV. The road was freshly graded which isn’t my favorite. I like it when it’s rutted lol

Anyone interested in a little different way to access this lookout check out this route

What bike did you take?
KTM 790
Ride Difficulty (1 to 5)
Alex Crane

After volunteering for the enduro race in Idaho City my son and I took our bikes up towards Thorne Creek Lookout. I’ve never been up here, and it was a beautiful ride with mostly well maintained access roads. The last couple of miles jump from 2.5’s in difficulty to 3’s to 3.5’s in difficulty. I probably would not want to bring my larger adventure bike up here. The last 1000 feet or so was snowed in, but we could see the peak so we’re calling it. I imagine all of the snow will be gone in a couple of weeks.

What bike did you take?
Ride Difficulty (1 to 5)