cispus lookout

Cispus, Castle Butte, Twin Sisters

These three peaks have excellent access and offer a variety of scrambling opportunities. Cispus Benchmark has the remnants of a lookout so the views are superb; Castle Butte has a short class 3 summit block that is fun, while the highest peak, Twin Sisters offers limited views but is rarely climbed. Most of the route follows the old Klickitat Trail with the Pompey Peak Trail starting between Castle Butte and Twin Sister.
Home - Washington Hiking

A few miles south of Packwood off Highway 12 is signed Forest Road 20. Follow FR 20 for roughly 13 miles. The trailhead is likely unsigned but find it at a primitive campsite where the road turns back north.
The first two minutes of the trail is a bit tricky. Follow a faint path that takes a old road going south. Look for a trail to the right where a blank post stands. Once in the big timber, the route is easy going. The trail passes right below some large cliffs and then finds a route through them. Once above, the terrain opens up and gets very scenic. Soon a trail breaks left going up to Cispus Benchmark Lookout. After hiking it, continue on from the junction to the west side of Castle Butte. Leave the trail and scramble up to the west ridge. Follow the west ridge, eventually crossing onto the north side near the summit. Find a route up the summit block in some trees on the west side. For Twin Sisters, back down at the trail, continue west until south of the summit. Leave the trail when the brush looks non-existent. Scramble to the summit with the most prominence of the three at 1,278 feet.
South Cascades
Distance: 3 miles one way for all three
Elevation Gain: 2,500 for all 3
Summit Elevation: Cispus 5,656; Castle 5,767; Sisters 5,818 feet
Access: Nice gravel road
Castle Butte
Twin Sisters
trailhead cispus lookout trail Cispus Mountain Large coyote Castle Butte Mount Adams Mount Adams Goat Rocks Cispus Mountain Cispus Mountain
Traversing below Cispus Mountain to the trail on the east side
Large coyote
Castle Butte from Cispus Mountain
Mount Adams from Cispus Mountain
Goat Rocks from Cispus
Views from Cispus Mountain
Views from Cispus Mountain
Mount Adams
Trail below the cliffs
Area of the trailhead
Twin Sisters Cispus Mountain Twin Sisters Cispus and Adams cispus lookout map Castle Butte Summit Castle Butte Mount Rainier Mt. St. Helens Mount Rainier Goat Rocks
Twin Sisters from Castle Butte
Cispus Mountain
Cispus and Adams from Castle Butte
West from Castle Butte
South to Mt. St. Helens from Castle Butte
Castle Butte Summit
Goat Rocks to the east from Castle Butte
Mount Rainier from Twin Sister
North from Twin Sister
Castle Butte and Cispus from Twin Sister
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1937 Recreation Map
1956 Burning Cispus Mountain Lookout
1956 Burning Cispus Mountain Lookout
1929 Northeast View
1929 Northwest View
1929 South View
Former Lookouts
Lookout History
The Cispus Mountain site was used from 1915 to 1926 with only a firefinder stand as a structure on the peak. Built in 1926, this R-5 or 4A variation 14 x 14 foot wooden cab with hip roof had projecting eaves all around with the door in the center of one of the walls. The wooden storm shutters opened down from the bottoms of the windows and rested against the ground. Each window sash had two panes rather than four smaller ones as was typical of the later lookout cabins. In The Willamette NF, these lookouts were called "Supervisor Hall Specials". By 1956, it was no longer needed so the lookout was destroyed by burning. Another report states that the lookout was dismantled and some of the lumber was used to build a small cabin north of Cispus Peak on the lookout trail. This small cabin was not used as a lookout. Some of the lumber left on the site was burned. In 1982, the window frames, cabinets, hip roof sections and additional lumber from the lookout building were found below the peak, north of the original LO site adjacent to a trail.