Quartz Mountain Lookout
Elevation: 5,129 feet
Distance: 2.25 miles to lookout
Elevation Gain: 700 feet
The Quartz Mountain Lookout in Mount Spokane State Park was removed from its original location on the summit of Mount Spokane in 2001. It was stored for 3 years while permits and paperwork were completed, then it was placed on Quartz Mountain as a rental cabin in 2004. Because it has been used a few times as an emergency detection lookout, it makes it on the lookout list. The original lookout was built in 1979, built 40 feet off the ground, and used for spotting fires until 1994, when it was permanently closed. After the move, the cab was placed on a timber tower at 10 feet above the ground, giving the feel for being in a tower without the issues of maintenance and liability. When the lookout was on Mount Spokane, the DNR was going to tear it down but offered it to the State Park, including the 8K it was going to cost the DNR to remove it. Rangers learned that a lookout would last longer in a location with no vehicle access so they chose Quartz, requiring a 2.25 mile hike to reach. The crane that removed the cab found the cab weighed 9,000 pounds. The 2 catwalks had to be removed to transport it by truck between the mountain tops. The Quartz Mountain Lookout is available as a rental cabin. When it was first being rented, the whole season would be reserved in just 4 hours. Nowadays, the reservations are done through the Washington State Parks reservation system. You can book 9 months ahead of time, so if you want to spend the night, you need to book it at exactly 9 months prior to get it. The cost is roughly $100 a night. Water and propane is provided but you must backpack in. The cab is rentable from mid-June to the end of September. During the winter, the summit is deep in snow with the bathrooms buried completely. The entire area is part of the renowned Mount Spokane Cross-country Ski Area so visiting the closed lookout in winter is possible. Nearby is the Selkirk Lodge, a hub for skiers.
From the Mount Spokane State Park entrance, follow the paved road up to a main 4-way intersection at a saddle. Straight is to the ski area, left is Mount Spokane summit road, and right is toward Quartz. Just go right and a large parking are will be on the right hand side 200 feet from the four way intersection. Or, in summer, the Linder Ridge gravel road goes 1.5 miles to a gate.
Washington Fire Lookouts
Picnic area below the lookout
Ranger Steve Christensen
Mount Spokane Nordic Trails Map
Quartz Mountain Area Trails Map
Lookout in original location on Mount Spokane