Omak Mountain Seen From Omak
Omak Mountain (5747 feet) is a broad peak on the east edge of the town of Omak. It is located inside the Colville Indian Reservation. The summit has several small buildings and a cell tower installation owned by Day Wireless. Near the wireless tower is a steel fire lookout tower built in 1986. This fire lookout is still used every summer to detect fires. The original lookout was built in 1935 and might still be present but not on the exact summit. A second lookout made of wood was built in 1968, but is no longer present. The remains of its support blocks can still be seen at the base of the current lookout.
The Steel Lookout Tower
There are no trails to the summit of Omak Mountain. Folks bound for the summit will have to hike cross-country or take the road. You can drive all the way to the summit. Or maybe you can't. Access might be a problem for a number of reasons. It's possible that Day Wireless Systems or the Colville Indians could claim that the top of Omak Mountain is private property. They might close a gate on the road. But then why is there a sign for the lookout, down on the highway? On the other hand, the road could be open and there might not be anyone around.
Rough Road Walk
The other problem with using the road is that it is often washed out to some degree. In May of 2012, 7 miles from the top, a small Road Closed sign was present in the middle of the access road. Beyond the sign was evidence of recent work to repair the road. Above 4000 feet, the road enters a tributary drainage of Stapaloop Creek. The erosion of topsoil here combined with jagged bedrock underneath makes driving any vehicle other than a tank imprudent. But the road repairs are in the works so who knows, it might be passable for a golf cart when it's finished.
On The Tower
Considering road issues and potentially uninviting locals, Omak Mountain might be best done on foot. Whether you walk the road or some chosen ridge line, remember to watch for ticks. I picked up two leg-crawlers within 10 minutes, not far from the summit. Now you're probably thinking, "forget it, I'll find another peak". But lookout enthusiasts won't be deterred, especially leading lookout bagger Eric Noel.
Moses Mountain To The East
Honestly, the views from the summit of Omak Mountain are so-so. There's not a lot of major peaks in the area so surrounding environs consist of gentle valleys and gentle-sloped forested mountains. But it does have a good view of nearby Moses Mountain. For the best view, take the stairs on the lookout tower itself. You can climb several flights, but the observation deck is locked shut.
Getting There / Driving Directions
From Highway 20 in the town of Omak turn east onto Omak Ave E/WA-155 and continue to follow WA-155 for 13.1 miles. Turn left onto Omak Lookout Road. Proceed 10.4 miles to the summit, or as far as possible and then walk the rest of the way. At 5015 feet, the road reaches a saddle and turns west.