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.
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.
More Former Lookouts
Chasing the quest to visit all 700+ former lookout sites in Washington. These 6 are on the east side of the Cascades in the Okanogan area.
One of the most popular trails in the Wild Sky Wilderness is Beckler Peak. It has a relatively new trail up to the east peak. But from the east peak, cliffs block access to the historic west peak which once had a fire lookout station. Well, there is now a trail up to this lookout site, using what I will call the west peak trail. Old logging roads have been utilized for making an extremely nice route to reach high on the west ridge and then connect with the old lookout trail near the summit.
Every former lookout site is unique and this one hits high on the charts. The lookout is still there....although in shambles on the ground. In 2008, the lookout was discovered toppled over. Some suspect the leg clamps were loosened and it was intentionally brought down. Maybe so, considering the roof was blown off during the winter of 2006/07. Other sites visited this day include:
Mount Bonaparte is the highest peak in the mountains just east of the Okanogan River in NE Washington. It stands alone with 3,537 feet of prominence. This makes it the 31st most prominent mountain in Washington State, and 230th in the lower 48 states. Its the third highest peak in all of NE Washington.
Columbia River Gorge Hikes
Spent a full day hiking around old and current lookout sites in the South Cascades, while my family was in the Columbia River Gorge.
One of the most popular destinations in the backcountry of the Glacier Peak Wilderness is Image Lake. It's reflection of Glacier Peak is as iconic as Mt. Shuksun & Picture Lake or Mt. Rainer & Reflection Lake. Image Lake attracts photographers, fisherman, lake lovers, and nearly every backpacker at some point in their hiking lifetime. Surrounded my meadows and endless wandering on high ridges above, Image Lake is a worthy destination, but you will have to work for it.
With nearly 2,000 feet of prominence, Plummer Mountain is a big mass rising at the far east end of the popular Miners Ridge. The summit makes for a nice half-day outing if camping at Image Lake in the Glacier Peak Wilderness. Its south slopes are generally tame but the north side is quite dramatic.