Red Top located in the heart of the Teanaway Region is a lookout tower that is home to commanding views of the entire Teanaway Region. In winter this is a very long snowhoe hike from Highway 97 that does warrant an ice axe for the final ascent (due to the exposed fire tower. In some the roads go to within a half mile of the summit and this becomes an easy family hike. Though it is a short walk up, it is good summit to grab after a long day at one of the neighboring Teanaway Region peaks, such as Miller and Earl Peaks.
The views from Red Top lookout area are breathtaking. The Enchantments and Mount Stuart stand out to the north over the mountains of the Teanaway Region. To the south is a great view of Mount Rainier. And to the east lies Tronsen Ridge and the eastern Washington desert. This mountain is clear steal if you are looking for award winning views for little effort.
As for the lookout tower, it is in great condition and is routinely manned by volunteers who stay overnight at the lookout tower. Though perched interestingly on the summit the tower requires no scramble to get to it. There is even a picture diagram on the summit showing many of the peaks in the region.
As with many other peaks in the region, Red Top is a good mountain to go to if the mountains in the I-90 region are having bad weather. This is due to the rain shodow that is present from the western Cascades. Because this mountain is on the leeward side of the Cascades it receives less precipation and is sunnier much more often. The down side to this mountain is that if the weather is warm in western Washington it is downright hot at the lookout.
Getting ThereFrom I-90 off of exit 85: Get on Highway 970-90 northand take it to highway 97 north. Take this 18 miles to Mineral Springs Campground. Once past Mineral Springs Campground turn left onto 9738 and go about two and half mile on the well groomed dirt road. Make a left on route 9702 and drive four and a half miles to the trailhead. In winter you will be starting all the way to the base which will make this a 15 mile roundtrip hike.
Red TapeNorthwest Forest Pass Required
CampingPrimitive camping spots are located all around Route 9702. Many of them are open on the weekend. The summit itself is way to rocky and exposed for camping unless you become friend with the manned lookout tower and the person lets you sleep there.
External LinksThe best website for local trip reports in the Cascades
Weather ConditionsHere are what the weather conditions would be from nearby Cle Elum.
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