The first structure was a log cabin that was built around 1920 although the summit was probably used prior to that time with a camp. By 1923, a D-6 cupola style cabin was built and used until 1947, it still remains. A 30 foot treated timber L-4 tower was built in 1947. This lookout was last staffed in 1988. The tower is listed on the National Historic Lookout Register. There is no evidence of an earlier log cabin ground house built in 1920 near the current D-6 tower. A single seat outhouse was present through 2005 but was missing in 2010 having possibly been destroyed by the Tripod Fire in 2006. Water for the lookout was apparently obtained from a spring located a half mile from the site. In 2015 Bob Pfeifer, an FFLA member, organized the restoration of the D-6 cupola. Use of a Forest Service helicopter to deliver materials required significant effort and cost by Bob and volunteers.
In 1921, the Methow Valley Journal reported: “Gwen Creveling will be the fire lookout on North Twenty Mile this summer. Miss Creveling is one of the very few women in the United States to serve in these lonely positions.” Gwennie Creveling’s married name was Gwennie Yockey; she was a seasoned lookout at the time of the Journal’s report.
September 1925: "When Walter Metcalf and two other men from the Chewach road camp found themselves hard pressed to hold an 18-acre fire on Disaster Creek they signaled an S.O.S. to the 20-Mile lookout by using a polished lard pail cover to flash the signals in Morse code. The lookout then signaled back to them that help was on the way. Reinforcements had been started an hour before their message was received." (Six Twenty-Six)
September 1925: "Percy Huston, lookout on Twenty Mile, says, 'A fire a day keeps the monotony away.' If this be true, life on Twenty Mile must be extremely interesting these past few days, with fresh thunderstorms and fires every day. Perry's favorite method of penetrating the smoke haze is to pick up the fires at night by the glow. Nobody seems to know when he sleeps. P.T.H." (Six twenty-Six)
July 14, 1926: "Another bad fire in the Chelan forest was reported yesterday near the Twenty-Mile lookout station. Already it covers 1000 acres, has become a crown fire and is being spread rapidly by a stiff wind. Last reports showed that it had traveled two miles in four hours. It is threatening a valuable stand of yellow pine and is also threatening to wipe out the North Twenty-Mile lookout station. Dry electric storm yesterday started in the Chelan forest four class C fires or fires of more than ten acres, and eight class A fires, those less than a quarter of an acre." (The Oregonian)
February 1929: "A very handy little 'etcher' was shown me when I visited North Twenty-Mile Lookout in the Winthrop District. Neither Ranger Burge nor his star lookout man, Carl Albin, have said anything about it in the pages of Six Twenty-Six, so, figuratively speaking, I am going to take their light from under the bushel and set it upon the table that all in the house may see. It was a piece of window glass, three inches square, on which had been etched lines and figures the same as on township plat of one-half inch to the mile scale. When Carl spotted a fire, he laid the glass on the township on his fire finder map in which he reported the fire. By eliminating the necessity of counting, it enabled him quickly and accurately to determine the section. Also, the danger of mistaking a longitudinal or meridional line for a section line was reduced to a mere possibility. Celluloid would be probably just as good as the glass and would be easier to mark. "Etchers' could be marked for any scale map on which they were to be used. S.R. Woods" (Six Twenty-Six)
Interesting News Articles
Most of the trail is recovering from the 2006 Tripod Complex Fire exposing hikers to the sun most of the route. The exception is the first mile or so where the forest was only burned below the canopy. The first half mile is the old access road. Once you reach the main burn area, expect a few areas of deadfall and some obstacles where the trail has eroded. Deer, bear and moose have been spotted feeding on the new growth on this trail.
From Winthrop, take the West or East Chewuch Road to their merging point. Now on USFS Rd 51, follow it for 6.8 miles. Just past the Camp Four campground, turn right and cross the bridge over the Chewuch River. Stay right shortly after the bridge and in 0.5 miles, bear left and follow FR-700 for 1.6 miles to the trailhead and road gate. Good access for any vehicle.
North Nov 4,1930
Southeast Nov 4,1930
Southwest Nov 4,1930 (1920 log cabin)
1923 under construction
Summit video May 20, 2017 - Very heavy snow year
Panoramic to the south
Inside the lookout
Inside the cupola
On deck of tower
Located in cupola showing visitors at 20 Mile Lookout Station during year 1927