Sulphur Butte Lookout Site
Sulphur Butte is located in a very inaccessible location, even though it is just a short distance from roads on a map. The access requires a large creek crossing, an ankle twisting lava field scramble, and a steep 600 foot forested hill climb. They payoff is historic ruins at a seldom visited location, a feeling of stepping into history. Reports say the Sulphur Butte Lookout Site was a 20 foot high L-4 tower built in 1935, abandoned in 1959. Evidence found in a 2014 visit found there was remnants of a lookout tower, a living quarters, and a storage cellar. Two firewood woodpiles were also found nearby.
Drive the North Cascades Highway east of Sedro Woolley 14.5 miles to the signed Baker Lake Road. Follow for 12.5 miles, then a left turn on FR 12 just after a bridge. Follow for around 2 miles to an abandoned road on the left (see map). Park at the blockade. Other access could be from high above the lookout on the ridge but it is overgrown and unknown to me.
Elevation: 2,262 feet
Distance: 1.8 miles RT
Elevation Gain: 846 feet cumulative gain
Road Access: Good Gravel
Follow the old road over a bridge that crosses Sulphur Creek. When the road makes the final western turn, leave the road and walk into the woods south toward Rocky Creek. The creek is in a small canyon that is difficult to find access across. Walking upstream a short distance, we were able find a old-growth tree that had fallen across the gorge. The terrain on the other side requires going upstream a bit anyway. On the south side of Rocky Creek is an old lava field with awkward footing and some brush issues. Once through, the base of the hillside is reached with open steep forest. Climb up and some traversing east will bring you to an obvious ridgeline. If you reach the young stand of trees, you are too high. Follow the ridge down to flat terrain and the lookout remains.
North - 2014
Looking North - 1935
Looking Southeast - 1935
Looking Southwest - 1935
Southeast - 2014
Southwest - 2014
Starting up the hillside
Looking at the ridgeline above where the lookout site is located
Crossing Rocky Creek
Old firewood pile
Eyebolt, storage celler, old foundation
Old trail bridge near the start of the hike
Burned timbers from the lookout tower