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North Mountain Lookout

North Cascades

Location

North Cascades -- Mountain Loop Highway
View map below

Length

2.5 miles, roundtrip

Elevation

Gain: 600 ft.
Highest Point: 3956 ft.

Rating

4.67 out of 5

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North Mountain is home to a network of mountain bike trails which can be accessed at many points along the North Mountain road, but the lookout tower is a destination in itself.

Although the 12 mile drive from Darrington may take longer than the 1.25 mile hike from the gate, it’s worth the trip to climb up the lookout tower. Stationed at 3956 feet of elevation, there’s a broad view even from the base of the tower.

Climbing up the tower steps, layers of mountains emerge to the east and the Puget Sound becomes distinguishable to the west. Below, the town of Darrington can be made out to the South, and Whitehorse Mountain is even more prominent across the valley than it is from town. In the eastern valley, the Sauk River can be seen carving its way into the mountains.

Although the lookout was originally constructed for the Forest Service to spot fires, it has long been neglected and is therefore currently in a state of disrepair.

Thanks to Friends of North Mountain, the tower is undergoing repairs and will be fully open to the public when repairs are complete. For the time being, the stairs are open for visitors to walk up, but the cabin itself is closed off. 

 

North Mountain Lookout

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 48.3088, -121.6111 Open map in new window

Trailhead

North Cascades -- Mountain Loop Highway

Washington State Department of Natural Resources

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Getting There

From Darrington, turn left to follow Highway 530 north (signed "east" at the intersection) for one mile. After passing the Darrington ranger station on the left, follow the sign for the Whitehorse Community Park - a left turn off Highway 530 onto North Mountain Road. 

The pavement ends 2.8 miles from the road’s start. Turn right at 6.7 miles (a junction with FR2811), left at 7.7 miles, right at 8.8 miles, left at 10.9 miles, right at 11.4 miles, and the road is gated at 12.1 miles (Mileage marks are from Friends of North Mountain). These turns keep you on the main road all the way up. From the gate, it's just another 1.25 miles to the lookout.

 

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North Mountain Lookout

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