Location: 48.2670801,-119.0864252 Summit Elevation: 4,600′ Lookout Type: 100′ Aeromotor MC-39 steel tower Site Established: 1939 Current Structure Built: 1939 Date Visited: 11/25/17
Do you have the nerves required to climb an almost 80-year-old 100′ steel tower? The views from Armstrong are obscured by trees unless you climb waaaay up there, and if you do, you’ll be rewarded with a glimpse of the Armstrong troll.
Photos from a 2017 visit.
The 100′ Aermotor steel tower is the original and only lookout on the summit, built in 1939. The site has been abandoned since 1952 and the ground cabin living quarters as well as the roof of the lookout have disappeared.
Aermotor steel towers were built by the Aermotor Company of Chicago, IL, founded in 1888. In the 1920s, a few steel towers started showing up in the Pacific Northwest and in the 1930s, several more were built predominantly east of the Cascades.
Despite being 100′ tall, the lookout is obscured by trees so you likely won’t even see it until you’re right on the summit.
There aren’t many views unless you climb to the top but there are beautiful sneak peaks southward towards the Coulee area on the drive up. I admit, it was very windy the day I visited and I couldn’t muster the courage to climb all the way up!
The area is worth exploring but please remember to stay on trails and roads and be respectful. This is Colville Indian Reservation land and access could change at any time.
From Omak, head east on Highway 155 26.2 miles, then turn left onto BIA Road 109 (Peel Creek Rd). Stay to the right and continue up the mountain on 109 approximately 4.5-5 miles to a sharp left turn. You can choose to park here and walk up the road depending on conditions or take the left and continue a short ways to the summit.
The road was reasonably well maintained on my visit in November 2017 but I parked below and walked up, mostly to stretch my legs. Most vehicles should be able to make the trek to the summit or close to it.
Note: To visit Colville Confederated Tribal land, non-tribal members must now purchase a recreation permit for $80/annually. Passes may be purchased online.