Location: 47.81307, -117.50938 Summit Elevation: 3,114′ Lookout Type: 40′ wooden tower with DNR flattop 14′ x 14′ cab Site Established: 1956 Current Structure Built: 1976 Dates Visited: 4/6/18
Lookout Point might be one of Washington’s least spectacular fire lookouts since the site is blocked off by high fencing. Even if you could climb the lookout, the summit has been obscured by tall trees and the views would likely only be peek-a-boo ones. Nonetheless, it’s not every day you can visit a lookout inside a gated community!
Lookout Point had two prior structures on its summit that are long gone, both 40′ wooden towers with flattop cabs. The existing structure on the site was first constructed on Mica Peak near the Idaho border in 1956. In 1976 it was moved to its existing location at Lookout Point and actively used until 1992. It’s remained unused since except for a brief staffing during a high fire season in 1994.
Visiting Lookout Point.
My visit to Lookout Point in March 2018 with my dad earned a spot on my top 20 most memorable fire lookout adventures. Why? We encountered a rather creepy hearse near the summit with a shovel propped against the back door! Talk about creepy things you find at fire lookouts!
Distance (RT): 5.1 miles* *It is possible to drive within 0.5 mile of the lookout if you can gain access through a gated community. We chose to park outside the gate and walk up. Elevation Gain: 804′ Summit Elevation: 3,114′
Lookout Point is inside a gated community called River Bluff Ranch. There are some reports that people have been able to wait at the gate and drive through when others are coming or going, but walking through the community to the tower is probably the most recommended access route.
The main road through the community, West Lookout Road, goes straight to the lookout. There is also a trail through the community that can be followed, which is the route my dad and I took.
From Spokane, take the 395 north past Wandermere to the Hatch Road exit. Take a left on Hatch back under the 395 to a T in the road. At the T, turn left (south) on to Austin Road. Drive 1.9 miles on Austin to a fork in road and then head left on Hazard Road. In 1.6 miles the gate for River Bluff Ranch will be on the left.