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#11 Alpine Mountain Glacier Peak/North Stevens Pass

Location: 47.81203, -120.8680039
Summit Elevation: 6,235′
Lookout Type: 15’x15′ R-6 flat cab
Site Established: 1920
Current Structure Built: 1975
Date Visited: 7/19/16

Alpine Lookout is the last remaining lookout in the Stevens Pass area and with 1,150′ of clean prominence, has impressive views of Glacier, Rainier, and the Enchantments.

I will always remember my visit to Alpine back in 2016 because I was caught in a lightning storm on Nason Ridge near the summit. Don’t care to repeat that EVER.

History.

Alpine Mountain was first established as a lookout camp in 1920 with a phone and alidade (a sighting device used often in surveying to determine directions and measuring angles). In 1936 an L-4 ground house was constructed with a large stone base. The ground house was replaced in 1975 with the present 15’x15′ R-6 flat cab, though the roof has since been modified. The lookout usually remains in active service and is typically staffed in the summer months. It was nominated to the National Historic Lookout Register on July 1, 1995.

Alpine lookout sits atop Nason Ridge and with 1,150′ of clean prominence, makes it a fantastic vantage point to look out at the Enchantments, Glacier Peak, Mount Rainier, and Lake Wenatchee.


The route.

Distance (RT): 10 miles
Elevation Gain: 2,600′
Summit Elevation: 6,235′

There are several creative and longer ways you can reach Alpine Lookout, but I took the most direct route via the Round Mountain trail. The trail starts in forest and crosses a small spring, which may be the only water source. The climb is steep before breaking out into an area heavily burned in the mid-1980s. In about 1.6 miles you’ll reach a junction with the Nason Ridge Trail. Turn left and enjoy the views down to Lake Wenatchee.

The trail traverses the side of Round Mountain, meandering through forest and meadows and can be filled with wildflowers in July and August. As you continue over exposed Nine-mile saddle, the path narrows and comes to a junction. To the left, the Nason Ridge trail heads down to Merritt Lake. Follow the trail to the right and climb 250′ over about a half mile to arrive at the lookout.

The summit has plenty of room to spread out and explore and is also home to a mountain top helipad. The true summit is 100 yards east of the lookout, marked with a flag or pole. Don’t be surprised if you see mountain goats here as they’re known to frequent the area, just remember to give them plenty of space.


Using some of my 9 lives in 2016.

This is not where you want to be in a lightning storm. The last photo I took before Jake and I got blasted by a fast approaching lightning storm. Yikes.

The reason I have few photos of Alpine lookout? I visited in July of 2016 and was caught at the summit by a fast approaching lightning storm. Nason Ridge is incredibly exposed and absolutely not the place you want to ride out a thunderstorm! I spent a whopping 60 seconds at the lookout before I ran down the trail and took shelter best I could.

I won’t ever forget this visit and was pretty darn lucky. You can read more about my story as well as some tips for lightning safety.

To this day I’ve never covered 10 miles faster!


Directions.

To Round Mountain Trailhead: From Stevens Pass on Highway 2, continue east 18 miles and turn left onto Forest Road 6910, just a quarter mile after a large rest stop. Cross a bridge, then proceed under some power lines and in 4.4 miles, turn right on 6910.1. The trailhead and parking area is a quarter mile up the trail.