Outdoor and Travel Adventures
More Former Lookouts - 6 Standing in North Central WA
Last Update: August 1, 2016
Chasing the quest to visit all 700+ former lookout sites in Washington.
Oklahoma has done a good job making a trail to its highest point and protecting the surrounding terrain by making it a nature preserve. The highpoint is an isolated 80-acre section of Black Mesa State Park. A nine foot monument was donated by the The Tulsa Tribune. There is a nice trailhead with restrooms, the trail is open dawn to dusk.
One of the most dramatic landscapes in the United States, the 30 square mile dunefield with the Sangre De Cristo Mountains is truly unique. If all the sand wasn't fun enough, for much of the year Medano Creek meanders along the edge of the dunes. Unlike other National Parks where you can look but don't step, here you can tromp just about everywhere, especially in the creek and over the dunes.
The Snoqualmie Tree Farm is a huge block of undeveloped land located in King County. With so much developable land so close to Seattle, the County decided to purchase the development rights. Deep inside this farm is the location of the former Snoqualmie Lookout. It was built in 1942, as a 50 foot pole tower with an L-6 cab on top. It was removed or destroyed in 1965.
A friend and I went to the Seattle National Archives to spend the day shooting and scanning some Osborne Photo Survey Photos from the early 1930's. I needed to know if there were any ones I wasn't aware of and to get larger copies for some of the more difficult sites to find. Here are about 20 percent of the Washington photos. Hit the zoom for even better detail.
Located near Bellingham, the 110th most prominent peak in Washington is about as high as its prominence. Lookout Mountain is a long mountain with three highpoints, each of which had a fire lookout tower at some point. The Lookout Mountain Forest Preserve is a pretty nice forest that makes a road hike almost seem like a trail hike. No views but the open forest below a high canopy is interesting and two former lookout sites were obtained in one hike.
Towering above Leavenworth, Tumwater is a popular destination among peakbaggers since it is the 97th most prominent mountain in Washington. But it's real charm is the history of the lookout camp near the summit. Few lookouts have the kind of history that Tumwater Mountain offers. It was in use prior to 1914 making it one of the oldest in Washington.
I receive numerous requests each week for permission to use a photo from this website. If you would like to use one, please contact me. I can email a better copy with full permission use with a donation of $10 per photo.
One of the most remote locations in the lower 48 states, only the most adventurous venture into this part of the National Park. With three days, my trek would loop around the district, a distance of 50 or 60 miles....I really don't know because of all the twists and turns.
Kapowsin Tree Farm Lookouts
One of the largest tree farms in Washington is on the West side of Mt. Rainier National Park. But, an expensive gate key and permit is required to get in. I got one now which gives me one year to hit all the locations I've ever wanted to visit inside the Kapowsin Tree Farm. Here were the top two:
We don't get to Montana too often but this spring we made a detour to visit some places we had never been. Lots of mining history was learned and our kids who love Minecraft seemed to enjoy it more than us.
More Former Lookouts - South Olympics/Coast
Chasing the quest to visit all 700+ former lookout sites in Washington.
Located in the Northern Olympic Mountains, with a commanding view over the Solduc Valley, Kloshe Nanich was the first known lookout building in Clallam County, and possibly the first lookout building on the Olympic Peninsula. It's location was on a 19 mile long ridgeline that to this day, has no official name. Constructed in 1917, it was a D-6 cupola cabin.
Social media has broadcast this trail as one of the top 10 in Washington so it gets lots of visitors. The trail follows an old railway line for most of its length making it great for biking or just easy walking. In the future, the path will be paved making it even easier. The trail will keep road bikers from traveling Highway 101 on the south side of the lake, one of the most dangerous biking routes in Washington with no shoulders and distracted drivers gawking at the views. This trail is also part of the Olympic Discovery Trail, a planned 126 mile route going from Port Townsend to La Push.
Somehow Washington ended up with two Anderson Butte Lookouts, one in Whatcom County, the other down in Grays Harbor County, at the south end of the Olympic Mountains. This is the one in the Olympic National Forest, one of the most interesting former lookout sites yet one of the least visited. The tread is nearly perfect but unless it is brushed out occasionally, the trail will overgrow. The reward for your effort is a ending climbing up a trail blasted out of a knife-edge ridge to a site blasted flat enough to place a large fire lookout.
Just a half mile up the hill is:
This short trail takes you to the northwesternmost point in the continental United States. This tourist trail starts out hiking through a Sitka Spruce forest but ends at cliffs and sea stacks. Platforms make viewing fairly safe but unprotected cliffs are around so keep young kids close. Boardwalks keep the feet dry through most of the muddy areas. Visitors have a good shot at seeing wildlife such as whales, sea lions, sea otters and many seabirds. Off in the distance is Tatoosh Island, a 20 acre almost treeless island that was used by the Makah as a fishing camp. The first lighthouse on the island was in 1857, with one still standing today
For a real hiking or camping experience on the remote Washington coastline, take a hike out to Shi Shi Beach. There is much to explore in the area including some of the highest cliffs and best sea stacks along the coastline. There are even some historic WW2 bunkers that are there but difficult to find. In times past, this area was a real nightmare for parking and hiking. Today, the parking is much better (see requirements) and the trail has been improved a lot. Expect to see lots of people so have fun with it, you'll see groups doing yoga to groups in their pajamas.
One of the most popular climbing destinations in California is Mt. Shasta. The majority of climbers use the standard Avalanche Gulch route. To climb this route, there is no need for extra climbing gear you might have on glaciated peaks, just an ice axe and crampons are all that is needed. You will see just about every type of novice climber on this route so it is known for having accidents.
More Former Lookouts - Clemons Tree Farm
Clearwater Guard Station - Blue Mountains Lookouts
3 More Washington State Parks
I'm up to 70 Washington State Parks visited with webpages made.
Located inside Clemans Tree Farm south of Montesano in Grays Harbor County. This was Americas first tree farm, and LEM lookout was one of four lookouts designated for fire prevention and experimentation when the forest was established in 1940.
And some former sites in the Blue Mountains