Route: Trail (mid-fall somewhat snowy conditions)

TR #: 107

Category: Washington (HWY 20)        Lookout Elev: ~5,450 ft       Rock Type: Gneiss, others

Partner: (solo) 

A fun dayhike to an old fire lookout. One lookout closer to my goal to visit all 92 standing fire lookouts in WA. 

Route Info

One of the most spectacular settings in the entire North Cascades, Park Butte provides unsurpassed views of the snowy volcano Baker as well as inviting and outstanding high country that begs to be explored. The historical Park Butte Fire Lookout, one of the few remaining in these parts, was built by the Forest Service in 1932. The hike up to Park Butte Lookout is only a few miles (7.5 miles round trip), and quite popular even when snowcovered.

I decided not to write much of a trip report for my October snowshoe/hike to Park Butte Lookout, since the trail is well-traveled, easy to follow, and described in several guidebooks. Go to the Washington Trails Association website for good trailhead and route info and updated trail conditions:

One thing to note is that this trip became a recovery milestone, being my first snowshoeing since badly breaking and nearly losing my leg in a climbing accident the previous September.


Here is a selection of my favorites photos from the day. The frozen dew droplets on the hike up made up for the fact that Mt. Baker stayed hidden behind the clouds.

And as proof that a great view of Mt. Baker actually does exist, here's a photo I took in July 2004 from the meadows on an approach to the lookout. This was during the point-and-shoot era of my life (I got my first SLR in 2005), but already a camera had become as essential to a hiking trip as a pair of boots.

Fire Lookouts in WA

It is my goal to eventually visit all the remaining standing fire lookouts scattered about the mountain ranges of Washington. Click the following link to go to my webpage on fire lookout structures of Washington, which gives a bit of history of fire lookouts as well as a complete listing of the remaining standing lookout structures in the state.

• Fire Lookout Structures in WA's Mountain Ranges