WA Fire Lookouts

I’ve long been fascinated by the history of Washington State fire lookouts. Most were built by the Conservation Construction Corps and in the 1930s there were over 8,000 lookouts across the United States, roughly 750 of which were here in Washington. As of 2017 only 93 still remain.

Many lookouts have suffered from vandalism, been destroyed by fire or weather, or have simply been removed due to liability and deterioration. Some that remain have been adopted by volunteers and restored. Only a handful like Goat Peak and Leecher Mountain in the Methow Valley are still actively used for fire observation.

Back in 2011 I got to meet the famous “Lightning Bill” Austin on a trip to Goat Peak Lookout in the Methow Valley. Bill is the only seasonal full-time fire lookout for the Forest Service and staffed Goat Peak for 19 years before moving over to Leecher. It was then I made a goal to visit all the remaining Washington lookouts but I admit that I’ve made slow progress over the years. There are just too many gorgeous places to visit in this state!

Chatting with “Lightning Bill” Austin on a visit in 2011 with some fun weather moving in.

On August 3, 2014, Craig Willis became the first person to complete the Washington Standing Lookouts list, which reminded me that I still had a lot of lookouts left to visit! This year, after fires came dangerously close to a number of lookouts, I vowed to step up my game and have visited a total of 36 lookouts, a bit past a third of the way through the list. I’m hoping to get to 50 by end of year and perhaps try to finish the list next year.

Eric Willhite maintains a website full of information about lookouts and has inspired me to get out there and help document their amazing history. I’ve also joined the Forest Fire Lookout Association, signed up as a volunteer to help restore some of our more neglected lookouts, and have plans to “adopt” a lookout soon!

I’m working to build out trip reports for the 36 lookouts I’ve visited and add links below. You can also find my lookout gallery on SmugMug and the lookout list on peakbagger.com.

Lookout Map
Lookout List

  Peak Elevation Range First Visited
1 Mount Adams 12,276 Mount Adams Area    
2 Slate Peak 7,440 Okanogan Range 10-2-17
3 North Twentymile Peak 7,437 Okanogan Range  
4 Mount Bonaparte 7,257 South Okanogan Highlands 10-7-17
5 Mount Fremont Lookout 7,181 Mount Rainier Area 7-27-17
6 Goat Peak 7,001 Okanogan Range 7-10-14
7 Mebee Pass Lookout 6,960 Okanogan Range  
8 Hidden Lake Lookout 6,890 Central North Cascades 10-7-14
9 Three Fingers 6,850 Mountain Loop Area  
10 Salmo Mountain 6,828 Priest Lake Selkirks  
11 Columbia Mountain 6,782 Kettle River Range  
12 Moses Mountain 6,774 South Okanogan Highlands  
13 Tyee Mountain 6,654 Entiat Mountains 9-21-17
14 Monument 83 Peak 6,520 Hozameen Range  
15 Winchester Mountain 6,510 Skagit Range 8-28-17
16 Green Mountain 6,500 Central North Cascades 10-28-17
17 Sullivan Mountain 6,483 Priest Lake Selkirks  
18 Oregon Butte 6,387 Northern Blue Mountains  
19 Grizzly Mountain 6,381 Kettle River Range  
20 Copper Mountain Lookout 6,280 Skagit Range  
21 Table Rock 6,250 Northern Blue Mountains  
22 Alpine Lookout 6,235 Glacier Peak-North Stevens Pass Area 7-19-16
23 Miners Ridge Lookout 6,208 Central North Cascades  
24 Buck Mountain 6,135 Okanogan Range 1-17-14
25 Desolation Peak 6,102 Hozameen Range  
26 Tunk Mountain 6,053 South Okanogan Highlands 11-24-17 
27 Sourdough Mountain 5,985 Skagit Range 9-11-16
28 South Baldy 5,961 Priest Lake Selkirks  
29 Tolmie Peak Lookout 5,920 Mount Rainier Area  
30 Mount Spokane 5,883 Southwest Selkirks  
31 Strawberry Mountain 5,863 South Okanogan Highlands  
32 Thorp Mountain 5,854 Alpine Lakes Area 10-17-13
33 Shriner Peak 5,834 South Cascade Crest 5-29-05
34 Sugarloaf Peak 5,814 Entiat Mountains 9-21-17
35 Dodger Point 5,760 Central Olympic Mountains  
36 Omak Mountain 5,747 South Okanogan Highlands  
37 Lookout Mountain 5,699 Central North Cascades 9-6-17
38 High Rock 5,685 Mount Rainier Area 2009
39 Jumpoff Lookout 5,670 Goat Rocks  
40 Clearwater Lookout 5,658 Northern Blue Mountains  
41 Granite Mountain 5,629 Alpine Lakes Area 11-14-02
42 Evergreen Mountain 5,587 Glacier Peak-North Stevens Pass Area 9-11-17
43 Lynx Mountain 5,520 Kettle River Range  
44 Lookout Mountain 5,515 Methow Mountains 1-22-14
45 First Butte 5,491 Okanogan Range 10-6-17
46 Gobblers Knob 5,485 Mount Rainier Area 8-30-17
47 Timber Mountain 5,474 Southwest Selkirks  
48 Park Butte 5,440 Skagit Range 9-23-17
49 Kelly Butte 5,400 South Cascade Crest 8-30-17
50 Red Top Mountain 5,361 Wenatchee Mountains 10-24-17
51 Mount Pilchuck 5,340 Mountain Loop Area  
52 Burley Mountain 5,304 Mount Adams Area  
53 Sun Top 5,271 Mount Rainier Area 7-8-08
54 Aeneas Mountain 5,167 Okanogan Range  
55 Quartz Mountain 5,160 Southwest Selkirks  
56 Funk Mountain 5,121 Okanogan Range 10-6-17
57 Signal Peak 5,100 Mount Adams Area  
58 Cornell Butte 5,096 South Okanogan Highlands  
59 Mount Leecher 5,020 Okanogan Range 10-4-17
60 Indian Mountain 5,014 Priest Lake Selkirks  
61 Big Butte 5,010 Northern Blue Mountains  
62 Leecher Crow’s Nest 5,000 Okanogan Range  
63 Red Mountain 4,965 Columbia Gorge North  
64 Puyallup Ridge Lookout 4,877 Mount Rainier Area  
65 Keller Butte 4,811 South Okanogan Highlands  
66 Watch Mountain-West Peak 4,800 Mount Rainier Area  
67 Cody Butte 4,764 Kettle River Range  
68 Whitestone Ridge 4,760 Kettle River Range  
69 Gold Mountain 4,686 Kettle River Range  
70 Armstrong Mountain 4,600 South Okanogan Highlands 11-25-17 
71 Diamond Peak Patrol Lookout 4,320 Priest Lake Selkirks  
72 Satus Peak 4,182 Columbia-Yakima Hills  
73 Johnny George Mountain 4,090 Kettle River Range  
74 Tower Mountain 4,000 Southwest Selkirks  
75 Whitmore Mountain 3,920 South Okanogan Highlands 11-25-17 
76 Whitmore Mountain L4 Cab Lookout 3,880 South Okanogan Highlands 11-25-17 
77 Spokane Mountain 3,870 Southwest Selkirks  
78 Knowlton Knob 3,852 Okanogan Range  
79 North Mountain Lookout 3,824 Mountain Loop Area  
80 Franson Peak 3,780 South Okanogan Highlands 11-24-17 
81 Meadow Butte 3,621 Mount Adams Area  
82 Wellpinit Mountain 3,464 Southwest Selkirks  
83 Ned Hill 3,464 North-Central Olympic Mountains  
84 North Point 3,320 Northwest Olympics  
85 Lookout Mountain 3,114 Southwest Selkirks  
86 Pyramid Mountain 3,100 Northwest Olympics  
87 Steliko Lookout 2,586 Chelan Mountains 10-8-17
88 Mount Constitution 2,407 San Juan Islands 2003
89 Lorena Butte Lookout 2,160 Columbia-Yakima Hills  
90 Heybrook Ridge 1,824 Glacier Peak-North Stevens Pass Area 9-11-17
91 Kitsap Lookout 1,360 Kitsap Peninsula  
92 Okanogan Post Office Lookout 800 Okanogan Range 10-8-17
93 Darrington Ranger Station Lookout 540 Mountain Loop Area  
94 Goodman Hill 480 Mount Rainier Area