Ted Gilbert Lookout Site
Washington Lookout Sites
Built in 1963, the Ted Gilbert Lookout replaced the nearby Elk Rock Lookout that was damaged in the 1962 Columbus Day storm. Ted Gilbert was a 40 foot wooden DNR live-in tower, completed in 1963. The location was used until 1977 when a private party purchased and removed it, just three years before the mountain blew.
Rob Kemnow found the following information in The Daily Chronicle on August 16, 1963 "A former, long-time Centrailian, Ted Gilbert, was honored this week with a new lookout named for him upon his retirement from the Weyerhaeuser Company after 40 years service. The lookout, located on Weyerhaeuser land in the St. Helens district, was officially dedicated to Gilbert by Bert Cole, State Commissioner of Public Lands. Gilbert will retire at the end of this month. The new Gilbert Lookout replaces the Elk Rock Lookout, damaged in the Columbus Day storm. Because fire lookouts are usually named after some geographic feature in the area, the ridge on which it stands was named Ted Gilbert Ridge this spring. The new lookout tower is one of four in the Kelso district and is manned by Thomas Huntington, Toulle. Complete living accommodations are provided in the 14-by-13 foot cabin atop the tower. Two way radio service permits the guard to be in constant communication with the Kelso DNR district office and the U.S. Forest Service Spirit Lake district."
Forest roads reach close to the summit but are usually gated. The most reliable thing to do is park on the Spirit Lake Memorial Highway and get onto the road network hiding just above the road. The map below shows the most direct access from the road. Note the lookout is on a knob much lower than the higher points of the ridge, which prevents the lookout from seeing anything in that direction.
Access & Route
Elevation: 4,116 feet
Distance: 1 mile from Highway
Elevation Gain: 500 feet
Road Access: Paved
Walking over to Ted Gilbert from Elk Rock Site
Nearing the 4 way intersection SW of point 4148
Saddle between 4,148 and 4,116
North to Mt. Rainier from lookout site
One of two footings, two were missing
Half buried footing
From point 4,148 looking down on the lookout site at 4,116
Mount St. Helens from Ted Gilbert Lookout Site
Ted Gilbert Lookout Site looking south
Looking east into Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument
From the saddle, looking at Elk Rock Lookout Site