Knowlton Knob

North Cascades | Okanogan Range

Location: 48.164045, -119.901762
Summit Elevation: 3,852′
Lookout Type: 40′ tower with DNR cab
Site Established: 1934
Current Structure Built: 1966
Date Visited: 11/18/18

Knowlton Knob in the south Methow Valley has been twice overrun by fire, once in 1985 and again in 2014 during the Carlton Complex, which burned completely through two of the lookouts legs. Miraculously the structure remained standing and was quickly repaired.

Photos from 2018.


Knowlton Knob was established as a fire lookout site in 1934 with the construction of an L-4 ground house built by the Forest Service. The ground house was staffed by Leslie Clapp from Brewster during the late 30s and early 40s. The lookout was sold to the State in 1954, then replaced with a 40′ tower with DNR cab in 1966 which was in service through the late 1990s.

DNR contracted out the tower to the Gebbers Logging Company, who have continued to staff the lookout over the years in partnership with the DNR.

In August 1985, a wildfire near Indian Dan burned over Knowlton Knob but the lookout was spared. Knowlton was again burned over during the Carlton Complex of 2014, the fire burning completely through two of the lookout legs. Miraculously, the lookout remained standing. DNR crews in partnership with private land owners made fast repairs to save the lookout.

The route.

Distance (RT): 9.8 miles
Elevation Gain: 2,700′

Many in the past have accessed Knowlton from the north using Benson Creek and Knowlton Knob road but this area crosses private property. Knowlton Knob Road is gated and signed at Benson Creek. Without land owner permission, you are trespassing and the land owners strictly enforce the area.

The only publicly accessible route to Knowlton is from the south through Indian Dan Canyon; however, the land owners state that the public land ends prior to reaching the lookout, so it is still trespassing to be on the summit. I have not done the Indian Dan Canyon route myself, but generally you can follow a ridge line from a parking area in Indian Dan all the way through public land to near the summit of Knowlton Knob. The route requires a fair amount of climbing but offers lovely views of the surrounding area.

General route to Knowlton from the south.


From Pateros, follow Highway 97 east and turn left onto Indian Dan Canyon Road. Turn left onto Getz Road and follow the road to its end at a small parking area. There are no facilities, so plan accordingly. A Discover Pass is required.