Washington State Fire Lookouts Open for Overnight Stays
There are currently eight fire lookouts in Washington that are available as bookable rentals through various agencies. These lookouts can be very popular and often difficult to reserve. Some of the seasons on these rentals are short but Steliko and Clearwater are typically open year-round.
*It’s debated whether the Hamma Hamma Guard Station actually qualifies as a “lookout” but it was at one point in time used for fire spotting purposes. At any rate, it still makes a marvelous overnight destination.
Heybrook — 1,824′
Glacier Peak/North Stevens Pass
Recently remodeled, Heybrook is available May 1 – October 31 on a 6-month rolling basis. Dates book up fast, good luck!
Seven fire lookouts in Washington are currently available for first-come, first-served stays. Know that these are all incredibly popular locations and first come, first served also means different things to different people. Some believe that once a lookout is occupied, it is rude to invite yourself in. Others believe that the lookout is open to all and that’s my opinion as well. I’ve had great fortune with solitude at some of these lookouts and I’ve also shared some pretty incredible experiences with others.
I recommend checking your expectations at the trailhead, having an open mind, and never assuming you’ll be able to spend the night or have the lookout all to yourself. Please treat these structures and fellow guests with respect. Leave them better than you found them and consider a donation to the volunteer groups who help maintain these for everyone to enjoy. We have very few fire lookouts open to the public in Washington State. Be the reason we have more, not less.
Note: the status of any of these lookouts could change at any time. Always be prepared with a backup plan and overnight gear in case the lookout is full, locked, damaged, or not available.
Burley Mountain — 5,304′
Mount Adams Area
Burley does seem to be open for overnight stays and many have reported staying the night. There is also ample camping space on the summit.
Note: Though many in the lookout community have said Pilchuck is not officially open for overnight stays, the Forest Service website does indicate it is. I was told to ask permission from the Ranger District first.
Lookout Mountain can be accessed year-round, but again, if you’re making a winter ascent, know what you’re getting into with snow and avalanche conditions. There is a steep avalanche slope below the lookout.