HistoryLookout Mountain contains one of the last remaining fire lookouts in the North Cascades of which there used to be several hundred. The Original Lookout (white building) was constructed in 1929 but then demolished in 1967. The current lookout tower was constructed in 1962. It is recommended that no more than two people stand on each side of the outer deck at a time. If the builders don't trust it with excess weight, then I don't either.
The TrailStarting at 1300 feet on Cascade river road, a well defined trail climbs steeply up the heavily forested southern slope. There are many switchbacks for the first 900 vertical feet. Around 3500 feet brief openings in the tree cover allow sun to shine onto alternating snow or leafy brush covered ground depending on the season. The trail makes a gradual change in course from northbound to west. Above 4000 feet the forest is patchy and first views of the lookout are possible. Just shy of 3 miles there is a junction. Take a left for the summit. The right trail leads to Monogram lake on neighboring Little Devil Peak. For those with extra time and or ambition, a combination of Lookout's summit and a swim in Monogram Lake might make for the perfect day.
From the junction it's another 1 and 3/4 miles to the summit. The trail attains the northeast ridge at 4500 feet and follows it to the south slope just below the upper meadow which surrounds the lookout tower at 5699 feet. The most striking peak in view to the east is nearby Eldorado Peak. A large portion of the Picket Range to the north is also clearly visible. Others that are easy to identify include Mount Baker, Bacon Peak, Hagan Mountain, Mount Shuksan, Mount Despair, Mount Triumph, Trappers Peak, Big Devil Peak, Teebone Ridge, Little Devil Peak, The Triad, Hidden Lake Peaks, Razorback Mountain, Snowking Mountain, Illabot Peaks, Whitehorse Mountain and many more.
|If coming from interstate 5, follow the North Cascade Highway 20 east for 39 miles to the small town of Marblemount. In Marblemount the highway takes a sharp left. At this point, rather than staying on the highway, proceed straight ahead across the bridge onto Cascade River Road. Follow this for 6.5 miles. Shortly after crossing Lookout Creek, just about a quarter mile past the National Forest boundary sign, there is a small parking area and Lookout Mountain sign on the right side of the road. The trail head is across the street. If you cross Monogram Creek you have gone to far.|
Lookout Mountain is located just outside the National Park boundary so a permit is not required for overnight trips. For information call the Ranger Station at Sedro Wooley (360-856-5700).
The lookout is open to overnight stays. Please be respectful and leave it cleaner than you found it. There is a broom, dustpan and waste basket HINT HINT. If you expect to be the last person to leave, make sure you latch the door closed and replace the protective barrier.