North Mountain

#15 VISITED: 10.08.17

Mt. Baker / Snoqualmie Nat. Forest

North Mountain




Mt. Baker / Snoqualmie Nat. Forest

Built » 1964 / 1965

Elevation » 3824 FT

Hike » 2.2 Miles Round Trip

Elevation Gain » 450 FT

North Mountain Lookout is located on the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, 12 miles north of Darrington. From atop it’s 41-foot treated timber tower, the lookout watches over the Stillaguamish and Sauk River Valleys, offering outstanding views of Mount Baker, Whitehorse Mountain, White Chuck Mountain, Pugh Mountain, Sloan Peak, and various other peaks of the North Cascades.

North Mountain Lookout was first established as a tent camp with a fire-finder in 1962. Between 1964 and 1965, the tent camp was replaced with an R-6 Flat Cab on a 41-foot tower. Today it is one of only three remaining R-6 Flat Cab lookouts on the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. The lookout was regularly staffed into the late 1980s, after which it was only used on an emergency basis.

By the early 2000s, North Mountain Lookout had fallen into disrepair, and in 2009 the Darrington Ranger District announced that the lookout would be torn down in the coming years. In 2013 a group called Friends of North Mountain was formed with the goal of restoring the lookout to its original condition and making it available to the public as a rental. The first work party took place in 2014, repairing the foundation blocks and replacing the roof and one wall, among other things. Today the lookout is still in the process of being restored.

My Hike » 10.08.17

Field Notes

I was able to make it to the gate in my Honda Civic, but I’m not sure I would do it again. The road is definitely rough, and having a high-clearance vehicle would have made the trip much easier.

Although the lookout itself was locked and the windows shuttered when I visited, the stairs to the catwalk were open and the views from the top were spectacular.

From the top of the tower you can see the Sauk River and all the tiny houses and farms scattered throughout the valley, so you never feel like you’re all that removed from civilization.


From Darrington, head north on Highway 530 for 0.6 miles. Just after the “Darrington Welcomes You” sign, take a left onto (unmarked) North Mountain Road (also called FS-2810). Follow this road for 2.8 miles, at which point the pavement ends. Veer right at the fork and follow this road (NF-2811) for 3.7 miles. Take a sharp right and follow the road for another 6.2 miles as it switchbacks up the mountain. Veer right at the fork and drive another .3 miles to the gate. There is room for several vehicles to park here.