Location: 47.886574, -118.020941 Summit Elevation: 3,464′ Lookout Type: 54′ steel tower with live-in cab Site Established: 1933 Current Structure Built: 1964 Date Visited: 4/08/18
The 53′ steel tower on Wellpinit Mountain was built in 1964 and is staffed every fire season. Recently the 2021 Sherwood Fire came within 1-2 miles of the lookout.
Photos from 2018.
The 53′ steel tower on Wellpinit Mountain was built in 1964 and replaced the Spokane Mountain fire lookout just four miles to the north. The old historic D-6 at Spokane Mountain burned during the 64,000 acre Carpenter Road Fire in 2015, started by an arsonist. The lookout at Wellpinit was originally planned for Spokane Butte but the Colville suggested that Wellpinit would have wider views of the Spokane Reservation as well as electrical service.
Wellpinit was featured in a fictional novel “Reservation Blues” written by Sherman Alexie, a talented Native American writer born in 1966 in Wellpinit. The story is about five Native Americans who embark on a musical journey with Blues legend Robert Johnson while searching for Big Mom, a spiritual matriarch who lives on Wellpinit Mountain and has the power to walk on water, read dreams, and speak with animals.
In 2010, the lookout at Wellpinit called in the Line Fire and in 2021, the Sherwood Fire, started on July 21st from a lightning storm, came within only a mile or two of the lookout.
No historical photos that I can find. If you have some, drop me a message!
From Wellpinit, travel south on the Wellpinit-Little Falls Road about a mile, then turn right onto Elijah Road. A small house mailbox marks the corner. Follow Elijah Road about 1.3 miles and veer right onto the Wellpinit Mountain Road. Follow the road approximately 3 miles to the summit. During my visit in April 2018 the road was in reasonable shape but I parked and hiked up the last half mile due to lingering snow. The route could require a high clearance 4WD depending on seasonal conditions.