barlow pass guard station

Barlow Pass Lookout Site


Washington Lookouts

Barlow Point a great viewpoint at the heart of the Mountain Loop Highway. With its history from the trailhead to the summit and easy access, if there was ever a place to rebuild a fire lookout, this would be it.
From Granite Falls, drive the Mountain Loop Highway to Barlow Pass. The parking area is on the north side of the highway up a short gravel road.
Elevation: 3,200 feet
Distance: 1.2 miles
Elevation Gain: 800 feet
Road Access: Paved
The Barlow Point Trail begins at the site of the old Barlow Pass Guard Station and encounters three junctions in the first half mile. Stay to the right at all three as the main trail skirts the foot of large outcrops of volcanic rock. The first two trails that go left drop down to the old Everett-Monte Cristo Railroad Grade. The third trail left follows the old Government Trail down the valley. After the third junction, the Barlow Point Trail starts a series of easy switchbacks to bring you to the crest of the ridge. Notice all the fire scar from this area burning in the Buck Creek fire of 1905. At 1.2 mile, the rocky summit is reached which has excellent views of the South Fork Sauk River and South Fork Stillaguamish River Valleys. Look for the 4 foundation corners of the lookout made of local rock and concrete mix. During the time of the lookout, the fire in 1905 had burned all the trees so the views were exceptional and unobstructed. Trees have since regrown and blocked most views.
Mtn. Loop Hwy.
A Forest Service Guard Station stood at Barlow Pass for many years providing a phone line connection between Forest Rangers posted here and at other stations in Darrington, Monte Cristo and Silverton. The Barlow Point fire lookout was constructed in 1935 and burned in 1964. While it was in place, the forest service ranger stationed at Barlow could hike up the trail to man the lookout during periods of high fire danger or lightning storms and watch for signs of smoke.
Lookout History
Barlow Point lookout, 1964 Photo by David Cameron.
Guard station at Barlow Pass 1924
Barney & Nerys Crain at Barlow Point Fire Lookout, circa 1940, photo courtesy of the Darrington Historical Society
Likely taken from Point 3,222 the higher location found south of the lookout location.
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North - 2014
Looking North - 1935
Looking Southeast - 1935
Looking Southwest - 1935
East - 2014
West - 2014
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Images 80 years and 11 feet lower
Photo Survey Panoramic Photos
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Overgrowing fast
Found this wire just below the lookout location, off the trail on the left. Followed it into the ground, then pulled it out of the moss for 100 feet as it was traveling toward point 3,222. Gave up following it where it went pretty deep under a fallen tree.
Lookout was up on top
One of the 4 corner foundations with steel bolt attached
Barlow Point Trailhead
Most of the trail looks like this
Trail sign for the Old Government Trail
mountain view Hall Peak
Big Four and Hall Peak