Funk Mountain is a mid-elevation peak located near the community of Conconully, in the middle of Okanogan County, Washington. Funk Mountain is perhaps most notable for being the site of an old fire lookout building. Many years ago, there were nearly 700 fire lookouts located in Washington. However, due to many fire lookouts being naturally destroyed (fires, lightning, falling over, etc.), moved to other locations, or completely removed or torn-down, there are currently less than 100 fire lookouts remaining in Washington. Funk Mountain has one of those remaining fire lookouts, helping make the summit a desirable location for many peakbaggers.
A Fire Lookout Worth Seeing!
Funk Mountain is accessible to the public and has an approach road currently accessible for most passenger vehicles. The final 0.2 miles to the summit is gated, only requiring a simple road-walk for the final ascent. Funk Mountain is a great destination for a novice hikers, outdoor enthusiasts, and people seeking great views. Many peaks can be seen from its summit area.
Funk Mountain Lookout
The first fire lookout established on the summit was originally only a "crow's nest" platform lookout in a tree during 1914. Remnants of the original crow's nest platform are still located in the tree, although the ladder leading up to the platform has long-since been removed. During 1935, a small L-5 cabin (living quarters) was constructed on the summit near the crow's nest tree. During 1943, the present 40'-tall wooden tower with L-4 cab was constructed and used for emergency fire detections. The fire lookout has been staffed fulltime during several bad wildfire seasons, the last time during 2000.
Original "Crow's Nest" Platform
The fire lookout structure is listed on the National Historic Lookout Register. Although the fire lookout staircase can be steeply climbed to its upper platform, a small sign at the top of the staircase warns against entry. Despite the lookout structure being built with treated timber, several wood planks seem weak and/or cracked. Entry to the top platform or cabin is not recommended. An old outhouse is found near the fire lookout structure, too. Entry to the outhouse is allowed, although usage is not recommended.
FROM CONCONULLY, WA:
1) Starting at the corner of Main Street and Broadway Street, head north along Main Street.
NOTE: Main Street is also North Fork Salmon Creek Road, and once the road enters the Okanogan National Forest north of Conconully the road-name is referred to only as Forest Road 38.
2) After 3.5 miles from the starting point in Conconully, turn right and uphill onto Forest Road 3810.
NOTE: Forest Road 3810 might not be signed. The road junction is shown on maps as "BM 2991" and is the first road junction on the east side of Forest Road 38 that occurs after passing the Oriole Campground turnoff.
3) After 2.1 miles along Forest Road 3810, turn right onto Road 200 (also known as Road 3810-200).
4) After 0.8 miles along Road 200, the original Road 200 veers to the left and has been decommissioned. Road 210, which is the summit road, begins straight ahead and briefly goes up a small steep section while passing through a gate. This road junction is shown on maps as Point "4197". If the gate is open, proceed. If the gate is closed, park alongside the road and walk from there.
5) From the Road 200/Road 210 junction, drive 1.7 miles to a saddle located east of the summit. An access gate prohibits further public driving. Park at the saddle, making certain not to block road access, and hike the final 0.2 miles of road to the summit.
USGS Benchmark Found At Summit
Public access to the Funk Mountain summit and fire lookout area is allowed, as is the steep lookout staircase, although entry to the upper lookout platform and cabin is not recommended.
Ascending The Steep Lookout Staircase
The original "crow's nest" platform still exists in a tree near the fire lookout structure. The ladder leading up the tree has long-since been removed and several lower branches have been cut off. The platform is unsafe and unstable, and at least one of its corners is no longer being held by a support beam.
Beyond the upper gate, only non-motorized access to the summit area is allowed.
It is recommended to have a Northwest Forest Pass (parking permit) in every vehicle.
Funk Mountain is located within Okanogan National Forest. As such, backcountry camping is allowed. However, the mountain and approach road is also access to several state wildlife areas nearby, so camping along the approach road, side-roads, or at the summit is not recommended (and quite possibly not allowed).
The Oriole Campground and Cottonwood Campground are two official campgrounds located near the mountain, only 2300' below its western slopes along Forest Road 38. Those are the two closest camping areas that are recommended to the public. Lodging accommodations might be found near and in the community of Conconully, as well.