Diamond Peak Lookout Site & Garfield County Highpoint
One of the high named summits of the Blue Mountains, Diamond Peak boasts a long history with a fire lookout and is the considered the Garfield County Highpoint, although a nearby hill could be higher. A short detour over to "West Diamond Peak" will get you up the second contender for the county highpoint. On Diamond Peak, some trees block views from it being a full 360 panoramic so my party wasn't that impressed with this summit. The mountain is just inside the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness.
Elevation: 6,379 feet
Distance: Under 1 mile
Elevation Gain: 500 feet
Access: Good Gravel Road
Washington Lookout Sites
From Pomeroy, take 15th Street south going 15 miles to the Umatilla National Forest. Now on FR-40, continue 15 more miles to a major 5-way intersection. Take a sharp right turn onto FR-4030, possibly signed for Mount Misery Trailhead. Continue 4.5 miles to the eastern trailhead for the Mount Misery Trail.
Lookout History & A Story
In 1928, a phone line was built from Mt. Misery to Diamond Peak. This line was extended to Oregon Butte in 1932. The Diamond Peak house was built in 1931 by Fire Assistant John Clouston, Assistant Supervisor Lester Moncrief, Junior Forester Fred Monroe and Ranger Blake. George Bosley of Bartlett, Oregon packed the lumber in on pack horses. Ernie Colwell finished the house in 1932 while on duty there as lookout dispatcher. The garage at Diamond Peak was built in 1934. (History of the Northern Blue Mountains) The structure was a 14 x 14 cab atop a 20-foot native round timber tower. (From a Umatilla National Forest inventory) In September 1929: "On the night of July 27, about 11 p.m., after the district ranger and Guard Colwell had settled themselves in the bunk at Clearwater ranger station for a few hours of much-needed rest for weary bones, the telephone rang loudly. Out of bed bounced Red, upsetting all the boxes in the house (these boxes are used for chairs at Clearwater). On the other end of the wire was Newby at Wenatchee. He said Diamond Peak lookout had called and stated that he had been bitten by a snake and the wound was swelling badly and he was very ill from the effects. Tried to call Diamond Peak. No answer. Supposed lookout too far gone to reach phone. Business of getting into clothing, getting first-aid packet ready, fixing up flashlights, etc. Business of phoning to get a couple of horses ready, getting road crew all out of bed. All speed records broken in race to Mt. Misery! Blake and Colwell from Clearwater and Newby from Wenatchee. We walked and rode the two old grader plugs over the awful trail to Diamond Peak. Got there at one a.m. Sunday morning. Lookout sound asleep and the picture of health. He explained that he was walking in the weeds in his oxfords and was bitten on the ankle by something. He was sure it was a snake, although he could find no snake. Our diagnosis of the case convinced us that he was bitten by a yellowjacket or some similar ferocious and terrible bee. Well, our return trip was without incident. We lost no time in getting started, because we had gone in prepared to pack out a dead man and the more we tarried the more we were tempted to make good. Our lookout still insists that he was snake-bitten. G.C. Blake" (Six Twenty-Six) The structure was likely removed about 1960.
Hike the Mount Misery Trail for just under a mile to a high saddle. Where trails break off in several directions. The first 50 feet of the Diamond Peak Trail are missing so once you reach the saddle, turn left and go into the trees to find a nice camping area. The trail should be visible at this point and is easily followed to the summit. This section isn't maintained so several trees may be fallen across the trail. A small communication antenna and a USGS Benchmark are at the summit.
Lookout on duty
1933 Metsker Map
Little bit of wood left
Diamond Peak Lookout - sometime in the 1930s as the bent bare tree-top stem on the far right is in the 1935 Southeast Panoramic
Diamond Peak Benchmark
Wire from anchor footing up to summit
Bolts at the summit
Insulator just below the summit
On trail between Diamond & West Diamond
Summit of Diamond Peak with a repeator on top
Diamond Peak from West Diamond Peak
Mt. Misery Trail
Diamond Peak from the trailhead