Outdoor and Travel Adventures
More Former Lookouts
Chasing the quest to visit all 700+ former lookout sites in Washington. These 4 were done from one Forest Road. One is a drive-up while the other three were behind a seasonal locked gate.
Near the tip of the Kitsap Peninsula, Foulweather Bluff Preserve incorporates six distinct habitats within a scant 100 acres. Forest uplands abut a sizeable brackish marsh and lagoon, which in turn is enclosed by a long, stabilized sand berm. The adjacent 3700 foot long beach is fed with sand from eroding bluffs, and extensive tidelands offer opportunities for close examination of intertidal life. Visitors to the preserve are welcome but to respect the wildlife, there is no dogs, no clamming, no souvenirs to carry out, no restrooms, no fires, just birdwatching, photography and other forms of nature appreciation.
Located on Hood Canal, Guillemot Cove (also known as Frenchmans Cove) is a undeveloped Kitsap County park full of trails and some rather unique locations to see. The main highlight of course is the beach, with the Olympic Mountains in the distance. Boyce Creek flows out from the woods and kids love playing where the water cuts through the sandy beach. Guillemot is a type of coastal bird and there are lots of birding opportunities around the cove. Other sites include the old beach house, a barns and even a house made inside a giant cedar stump.
There are many mountains in the National Monument just north of Mt. St. Helens, but the most popular is Coldwater Mountain. Once a sight of a lookout tower, today it is the site for numerous research instruments. Hiking from the Johnson Visitors Center, Coldwater is the first mountain of real prominence. Trails approach the mountain from three directions and a nice final trail switchbacks up to the summit. As pictures show, the views are spectacular. Coldwater Peak was right in the blast zone in 1980.
More Former Lookouts
Chasing the quest to visit all 700+ former lookouts in Washington
This hike at the eastern edge of the cascades nearly starts at the Columbia River, climbing 3,000 feet to the former lookout sites of Goman and Byrd. The route is along the Oklahoma Gulch Road, part of a wildlife area that gated to motorized use during winter and spring. Activities are discouraged as they impact wintering deer but many go this time of year due to easy access. I must have saw 30 to 40 deer in just a few hours in March.
This trail has a lot to offer, the views over the Columbia River are terrific, the open grass slopes are like mountain meadows and the finish actually feels like a high summit. In reality, the ridge drops just a bit and then continues to higher points. Do this hike in April or early May and you'll find a flower garden. Do much later than that, and you will find excessive heat and plenty of snakes. If you don't mind a bit of snow, the parking lot is usually cleared all winter.
Usually done in winter, Teanaway Butte is a popular snowshoe from either Jungle Creek or the Middle Fork near Indian Campground. Teanaway Butte is a Backcourt List peak, a 1,000 plus prominence peak, and the site of at least 2 former lookout sites. To walk the historic route, take the access from the Middle Fork which at the halfway point was the site of the original lookout, called Middle Teanaway.
Located on a high knob in the Kapowsin Tree Farm, this lookout point can be seen from miles all around. The lookout is a 20 foot high wooden flattop DNR tower with catwalk built in 1964. Some have suggested it might have been one of the last ones built in Washington. The lookout is on a private tree farm and access by vehicle is restricted unless you purchase an annual access permit. But, in winter, Puyallup Ridge Lookout is part of the Mt. Tahoma Ski Trail System.
Drift Creek Falls is a 75 foot horsetail type waterfall that is scenic but the 240 foot suspension bridge towering 100 feet above the creek steals the show. The bridge is the longest suspension trail bridge in any national forest in Oregon and Washington.
Some come for the dramatic cliffs and coastal scenery, while others are there for the wildlife. For views, Cape Meares is spectacular. Short trails take visitors to many overlooks, including the main attraction at the Cape Meares Lighthouse. For wildlife, there are elk, bear, deer and many species of birds. The steep cliffs and offshore rocks are nesting sites for thousands of seabirds, including common murres, pelagic and Brandt’s cormorants, pigeon guillemots and the occasional peregrine falcons in the spring.
Cape Lokoout is a densely forested headland that protrudes far out into the Pacific Ocean. The trail winds up and down and all around working its way to the very end. Get to the end and you are so far from the coast, the views really are just a lot of ocean water....less dramatic than the beginning of the hike. But the tip of the cape offers prime whale watching during Gray whale migrations. Most of the hike is through lush Sitka Spruce and western hemlock forests with no views. Along the way is the occasional view or views down cliffs to (sometimes noisy) sea bird sanctuaries.
One of the most interesting headlands on the Oregon Coast is Cape Kiwanda. The sandstone, the large seastacks, a monster sand hill and many tidepools creates some of the best photo opportunities. Cape Kiwanda is the smallest of the capes on the Three Capes Scenic Route, but it's said to be the best place to experience spectacular wave action. The cape can be approached by vehicle on the north side or from Pacific City right at the south side, where the dory boat launching area is located. You can park there or park up on shore in Pacific City.
This lookout was originally called South Prairie but is also referred to as O'Farrell. It was a 20 foot pole L-4 tower built in 1934. It was replaced in 1960 by the Carbon Ridge Lookout further up the ridge.
Newport has been a vacation destination since 1856. Attractions are in town as well as other sights along Highway 101. The Yaquina Bay Bridge with its dramatic soaring steel arches make it one of the most photographed of McCullough's bridges on Highway 101.
The second most popular island to visit in the San Juan Islands is Orcas Island. From the air the island can be spotted easily because of its unique horseshoe shape that makes for miles of long shoreline. Geographically, Orcas is the largest of the islands
This lookout was built in 1960 or 1961, replacing the nearby South Prairie Lookout. The structure was reported to be a 40 foot wooden DNR live-in tower, said to be gone by 1969. Today the site is being used as a weather station.
Located on the Weyerhaeuser Vail Tree Farm, Miller Hill is a prominent point with nearly 1,200 feet of prominence. The area is prime tree growing terrain and has seen several rotations of timber over the years. Miller Hill is also noteworthy as the former site of a fire lookout tower. A clear-cut around 2014 at the summit makes finding the 4 concrete footings easy.
More Oregon Coast
More pictures from the Oregon Coast!
This 7 mile section of the Burke Gilman Trail takes you along the northwest shore of Lake Washington. The route described starts at Magnuson Park in North Seattle and ends at Log Boom Park in Kenmore. Along the way, there is only one other access point to the waterfront of Lake Washington, and that is at Matthews Beach Park. For most of the way, there is a row of homes between you and the water. Views are sporadic between homes or over the roofs of homes.
Kiona Peak is one of the great vantage points in the Cowlitz Valley, with a prominence of over 1,500 feet. But it's the history that makes Kiona Peak so great. In 1917 the first lookout station in the Rainier National Forest was constructed on the summit requiring explosives to blast off a piece of the top to find a large enough space. The site was abandoned in 1963 and is nearly forgotten today as its access is rather difficult due to locked logging roads.
This is the second lookout built on Watch Mountain, built in 1963 at the end of lookout construction days. This present 14 x14 foot DNR flattop cab with catwalk is not used for anything fire related.
This lookout site remains relatively unchanged from its time of use, which is extremely unusual in such a low elevation site. The lookout was built in 1933. It was an L-4 ground cab (see picture on page) that lasted until around the early 1960's. This old site probably gets just a few visitors per decade.