Rocky Butte Lookout Site
US 1875, CA 70
Rocky Butte Lookout

Rocky Butte Lookout - courtesy of Johnny Jensen

Lookout Details

Registry Numbers US 1875, CA 70 (view other lookout sites in United States, California)
Date Registered December 22, 2019
Nominated by Brad Eells
Location San Luis Obispo County, California
Coordinates N 35° 40.515' W 121° 03.229' (view using Google Maps)
N 35° 40' 31" W 121° 03' 14"
N 35.675258° W 121.053818°
Elevation 3,357 ft (1,023 m)
Built 1933/1977
Removed After 1999
Administered by California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire)
Cooperators US Forest Service - Los Padres National Forest


The tower was a CCC (USFS Plan No. L-701) structure. The original cab (USFS Plan No. BC-301) was replaced with the Forest Service's standard "all steel" cab (Plan Number CL-30) in 1977. The existing cab had originally replaced a CCC era lookout located upon Cerro Alto. After the Los Padres National Forest closed the Cerro Alto Lookout Station, CDF acquired the cab and had CDC crews dismantle, transport and reassemble it on top of the Rocky Butte tower. The replacement of a BC-301 cab with a CL-30 cab had seriously compromised the integrity of this property. The tower has also been altered: metal siding added, doors and windows replaced, upper story room remodeled. These alterations do not conform to the original design.

The station is located upon a ridge line (that is lower and to the north of Rocky Butte) in the Santa Lucia Mountain Range. The area is covered in chaparral, manzanita, annual grasses, and a scattering of madrone, oaks and pine. A 10,000 gallon concrete water storage tank is located to the southeast of the lookout. A vault and microwave tower are nearby. The lookout station was near the William Randolf Hearst Ranch, it overlooks Hearst Castle. The site is not open to the public, being some 7 miles from paved road. (MVT 10/91)

The lookout structure was removed some time after 1999 to make way for a communications facility.

Some Rocky Butte items and photos are on display at the Cal Fire South Bay Training Center in Baywood, California.


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Photo courtesy of Steve Maurer

Photo courtesy of Josh Taylor

Lightning stool and Fire Detection Handbook

Lightning stool and Fire Detection Handbook - courtesy of Josh Taylor

Osborne Fire-Finder

Osborne Fire-Finder - courtesy of Josh Taylor

Fire Detection Handbook

Fire Detection Handbook - courtesy of Josh Taylor

Weather Station

Weather Station - courtesy of Josh Taylor

Visitor Register

Visitor Register - courtesy of Josh Taylor