Big Skidder Hill
One of the most prominent hills (over 1,100 feet prom) in the Northeast corner of the Olympic Peninsula is Big Skidder Hill. The mountain is made up of private timberlands and State Lands. Non motorized use is allowed. A few different routes can be used, all have potential viewpoints along the way. The summit area is currently heavily forested, a DNR commercial thinning was done some years back and the forest has responded very well putting much needed diameter growth on the remaining trees. The final half mile goes through this forest. Near the summit is the remnants of the Skidder Hill Lookout. This fire lookout tower was built in 1957 and stood about 40 feet high. It was painted an official battleship grey. Lookout enthusiast Ron Kemnow found a great Port Angeles Evening News article from Sept. 20, 1957 that discussed the dedication of the Skidder Hill Lookout by the Department of Natural Resources. Visitors got tours, delegation members included the chief of the DNR's Port Angeles district, the district ranger, the Sheriff of Jefferson County, local representatives of the pulp and paper mills and the Quilcene schools, the U.S. Forest Service and the Washington Forest Fire Association.
During the open house the radio and fire finder were in operation and the visibility was ideal for good observation. Just 9 years later, in 1966 it was decided to take the tower down. According to someone online, his father bid US$4, which turned out to be the only, and therefore highest bid. They lowered the furniture, map table, shutters and window glass over the edge of the railing with a rope. An attempt was made to salvage the top of the lookout intact, but while tipping the whole tower over using a tractor winch, bracing it with a pole to achieve a controlled fall, the pole slipped half way down, and it crashed. The stairs became basement access for the church remodel while the bracing beams became the roof supports for a rental cabin. Most of it was used in a new garage, the ridge beam, the windows, the shutters.
Elevation: 2,126 feet
Distance: 3.5ish miles
Elevation Gain: 1,900 feet
Road Access: Paved, short good gravel road
This is the quickest access point from a highway. From the interchange of Highway 101 and 104, go north to the signed road West Uncas Road. Turn left, follow West Uncas a short distance and take another left. A dirt road will head south to some homes. After the first house on the right, you will see a large dirt road on the right. Follow this forest access road uphill, doing a switchback and reaching a gate. Park in one of two pull-outs.
Walk or bike up the road, taking the second road left (B2000). Follow this uphill to a creek crossing and intersection. Turn right. The road does a long traverse uphill so ignore all side roads on each side until you come to the rock quarry. The road will wrap around the quarry and continue up to a saddle between two knobs. A road to the right will take you to a good viewpoint overlooking Discovery Bay. Continue straight for the summit. Soon, another road to the right will drop slightly down and quickly appear to dead-end. This is the section line and ownership boundary, so the road has been torn apart for 50 yards or so. Follow a trail that gets you through the mess to the other side where a nice road reappears. Follow to an intersection, turn right going uphill to the summit. The lookout location is located at the switchback on the summit ridge.
Park here at gate
Just up the road
End of Discovery Bay
Lots of this on the long traverse up the mountain
State Lands near the summit
Blyn Hills from viewpoint
Big Skidder Hill summit from viewpoint
Looking north with Discovery Bay below
Looking west from viewpoint
Looking south from viewpoint
Panoramic of the switchback near the summit. The lookout was right in the middle, the whole spot up the embankment is flat.
All four footings are present, this one was visible.
Almost hiding...the other two are deep in the brush and young trees
Eye bolt for guy line
Area around the lookout that isn't re-growing well
Photo reported to be the Skidder Lookout