Inskip Hill Lookout is 1300 vertical feet up from the turnoff at Lanes Valley Road. This is a 9.9 mile out back ride with a variety of views overlooking the vast volcanic landscape of Tehama County. Typical of most Lookouts is the long steady climb to the top, and if you’re lucky, the lookout will be open. Unfortunately, on our outing it was closed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The first few miles of the ride have a gentle climb with a few steep sections. Nature treated us to a variety of wildflowers, and large thistles in full bloom. The nats, face flies, second gear bugs, whatever you want to call them, engulfed us the entire ride. Determined to get to the lookout, we swatted the damn things out of our faces the entire distance.
The overcast weather with a threat of rain hindered the interminable distance views over the length of the ride. When we reached the lookout, we found it closed, and rising out of the trees. Not being able to access the upper deck of the lookout, the trees that surrounded the top of Inskip Hill obscured our views.
The lookout attendant came out onto the upper deck and chatted with us. She apologized for the door on the steps being locked, but confirmed she was under orders to allow no visitors up top. Rain was becoming a serious threat, so it was time to descend the nearly five miles of lookout access road. It was steep, fast, and loose most of the distance.
Inskip Hill lookout would be a grand adventure on the right day. The right day would include an open lookout, and a bug net over your head to keep the face flies out.