Elevation: 1,240 feet
Elevation Gain: 650 feet
Distance: 3 miles
Access: Good Gravel Roads
Washington Lookout Sites
Take the Shelton-Matlock exit off highway 101 go toward Matlock. Once past the small crossroads of Dayton, keep an eye for a large dirt entrance to the 800 line. Go a short distance to the mainline and then go left on the 800 line. Follow until you reach the parking spot I show on the map. There are other ways to get closer but anything off the 800 line usually signed with a Red Dot which stands for No Motor Vehicles allowed.
The Simpson location is probably one of the oldest fire detection points in the region. The exact date of start is unknown but an early picture shows a crude structure on location. Simpson received major improvements in 1936 when a 40 foot treated timber tower with 14 x 14 foot cab was built by the state. (1936 Division of Forestry Annual Report). The following year, on July 23, 1937, panoramic photos taken from the deck at 48 feet high. In 1944, the site was used as an Aircraft Warning Service Station (Charlie 2-1). At that time the station was operated co-operatively between the Simpson Logging Company and the State of Washington. In 1956 the Simpson tower was replaced by the South Mountain Lookout, located nearby but over 2,000 feet higher. The current lookout person at that time, Mrs. Roe Franklin was transferred to the new station. In 1961 the Simpson tower was destroyed. Sometime around the 1980's, the site was used as a logging landing. Trees were pulled up the hillside from all three sides of the lookout point. The volume of logging slash covers much of the immediate area and the site has been covered in crushed rock to support those logging operations. Basically, there isn't much to see. I found one footing half buried that had been thrown over the side.
From the parking spot, there are two abandoned roads. Take the one on the right, utilizing a trail through young alders. After a short distance including a creek crossing, you reach the road no longer abandoned. Follow the level road a half mile until a left turn onto the Simpson Hill Road. Use the map to guide you, the trail to the old lookout site is before the summit. A loop trip can be made as shown on the map. An alternate route may be possible from the southwest, it's on the map but I didn't go that way.
Simpson Lookout - Pre 1936: L.T. "Mike" Webster in Photo
The Magazine with the same name.
The Simpson Lookout began in 1947 telling about the people and activities of the Simpson Company when it was a rather small and compact organization with production plants only in Shelton and McCleary. In 1961 the magazine was changed to The Diamond after consolidation of all company operations. Today the company is called Green Diamond Resource Company.
View Southwest (1937) with South Mountain on the right
View North (1937) with South Mountain on the left and Simpson Hill directly in front
View East (1937) with the access road to Simpson Hill in same location as today
1936 Forester Report
2015 Aerial view of the route up Simpson Hill Road
Yellow is a trail, yellow dots on black is road hiking or biking
1947 Metsker Map
Simpson Lookout Tower & shed
2016 Image from same location
Looking East 2016
Looking North 2016
Looking West 2016
Simpson Lookout Site - 2016
One footing found pushed off the side
Simpson shed site - 2016
Logging slash surrounding the site