Beckler Peak Lookout Site-West Peak Trail

Elevation: 4,950 feet
Distance: 2.5 miles (a guess)
Elevation Gain: 2,050 feet
Access: Good Dirt/Gravel Road
One of the most popular trails in the Wild Sky Wilderness is Beckler Peak. It has a relatively new trail up to the east peak. But from the east peak, cliffs block access to the historic west peak which once had a fire lookout station. Well, there is now a trail up to this lookout site, using what I will call the west peak trail. Old logging roads have been utilized for making an extremely nice route to reach high on the west ridge and then connect with the old lookout trail near the summit. Once you reach the old trail, it has been brushed out and brought back to life. This section is wonderful and even traverses the north side of the west summit to the viewpoints on the backside. Historically, this trail is said to go all the way to Alpine Baldy....which it likely will again someday. The final switchback to the lookout site from the north viewpoints has not been cleared. I don't know if this is on purpose or the person making the trail did not know it was there. Also the first 50 feet of road from the car has not been cleared as to hide that there is now a trail ready for boots.
Former Lookouts
Lookout Site
From Skykomish, continue east for 3.1 miles. Make a left onto FR-6066. Although a sign marks the road just before, there is no turn lane, it is on a curve and the road is in a break in the guardrails, keep a sharp eye. Follow the road for 1.9 miles to a Y, go right. At 5.1 miles look for an old road on the left with tight parking for 2 cars. If you drive the full 6.8 miles to the end at the Jennifer Dunn Trailhead you went way to far.
Beckler Peak began use as a fire lookout site sometime around 1924. There are two great photos (shown on page) that show the lookout site, the first with a tent and tree platform. A source says the equipment and tent were brought over from Cleveland Mountain in 1924. The first lookout tower was devised by building a small platform between three living trees. The second, said to also be taken in 1924, shows a new tower built on top of the original three tree platform, was reported as a 25 foot pole tower with a 6x6 foot cab (although it looks a bit higher than that). The tent was also replaced with a log cabin 10 by 16 feet and rather nice looking from the 1934 images. Ten years later, in 1934, panoramic photos were taken from the lookout, at 42 feet above the ground. I would suggest a third lookout had been built at some point because during my site visit in 2015, I noticed 2 flights of stairs that wouldn't make sense for the lookouts shown in the pictures. Also, 2 sets of footings, the second footings were the type similar to lookouts constructed from the 1930s to 1950's. Somewhere I'm sure I'll come across a image of the third structure. Reports show the last tower destroyed in 1958. Unlike most former sites, you could smell the old lookout timbers in the air adding to the ambiance of this location. Views in the past were to the north up the Beckler River to the Monte Cristo peaks and west down the Skykomish River Valley over towns like Skykomish. Today, only the views south into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness are what is really visible. (About 2 hours of chainsaw work would bring this site back to life if someone is gutsy enough). In the book "Lookouts: Firewatchers of the Cascades and Olympics", it says workmen had to look hard for straight poles, and Norm McCausland remembered hauling some of them 800 feet by man-power. The lookout used a heliograph until a telephone line was strung to the ranger station. At first the route to Beckler Peak was just straight up the mountain, but to get horses near the top a trail was built, switchbacking up the southwest ridge. A tramway was installed on the last 500 feet of Beckler to carry water and heavy supplies. The lookout would fill a ten-gallon can of water, hook it onto a cable, then climb to the top and crank a windlass to pull up the load. (You can still see a swath of no trees through the forest where the tram was located in 2015). A winter storm snapped the guy wires to the lookout and the tower toppled. The forest service retreated across the Skykomish River to Maloiney Mountain.
Hwy 2 Hikes
beckler peak lookout map
Tree platform and tent when lookout was first established
New tower on top of the tree platform and the new cabin 1924
Washington Fire Lookouts
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Looking Southeast 1934
Looking Southwest 1934
Looking North 1934
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Looking Southeast 2015
Looking South 2015
Looking North 2015
Cabin foundation
Cabin foundation 2015
Staircase Staircase Phone insulator Woodpile Woodpile footings parts eye bolt footings Saw parts board beckler peak trail beckler peak trail beckler peak trail beckler lookout stuff metal Outhouse
Staircase one
Staircase two
More wood
More wood and a footing
Phone insulator
Outhouse (I think) down below
There are 4 large sloping footings
There are 4 smaller square footings
The old trail still the same after all these years
Old road, now trail near the start
Old trail on the west ridge
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Saw parts
Stuff everywhere
Long board