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Hiking GuidesWashington

Hiking Guide: Heybrook Lookout

A view of Baring Mountain from Heybrook Lookout

Overview

Heybrook Lookout is a fire lookout in Washington State, first constructed in 1925. Over the years, it has seen continual maintenance and improvements. It now stands 67 feet tall and has a public observation deck that can be accessed via 89 wood steps and a short but steep 1.2 mile one-way hike.

From atop the lookout, there are grand views of many surrounding peaks of the Cascade Range and Bridal Veil Falls. If the weather is good, Baring Mountain is a particularly unusual looking mountain that you can get an excellent view of.

Baring Mountain after a snowstorm
Baring Mountain after a snowstorm

This hike pays enormous dividends for a relatively small effort. For an unexperienced hiker, it would make a great introduction to the Cascades. Although the climb is strenuous, it is over quick and takes you through a quintessential pacific northwest forest, complete with mossy trees and ferns covered in dew.

Note: You can reserve Heybrook Lookout for an overnight stay here.

Heybrook Lookout from below
Heybrook Lookout from below
Looking east from Heybrook Lookout
Looking east from the lookout

Quick Facts

  • Distance: 2.4 miles
  • Hike Time: 2 hours
  • Elevation Gain: 921 feet
  • Fee: Free
  • Dogs: Yes
  • Difficulty: Easy

Hiking to Heybrook Lookout

I hiked to Heybrook Lookout for the first time in December 2016 with my friends Jason, Sable, and Ben. There was a light dusting of snow that morning and it made the forest and mountains beautiful.

In September 2020, I returned with my wife Kim, 2-year-old daughter Maia, and cattle dog Arrow.

Maia stubbornly insisted on hiking herself, even after she fell a few times. I was one proud papa! She almost made it to the lookout on her own.

Needless to say, our pace was a bit slower than most but we reached the lookout in an hour or so.

There were some other hikers hanging out on top of the lookout when we arrived, so we waited for them to finish before going up the stairs. The stairwell and observation deck have limited room so please remember to be courteous.

We took the opportunity to rest and have a snack at the bottom. Suddenly, a small rock dropped from the lookout and almost hit Arrow!

We figured some kids had thrown it and asked them to stop. Rocks thrown from high places have caused tragic deaths. I’m glad nobody was hurt or killed.

Once that group made it down, we went up the creaky stairs and spent a few minutes taking photos and enjoying the view.

Max (the author) and Maia at Heybrook Lookout
Max (the author) and Maia at Heybrook Lookout

During our hike down a young woman was stung by a bee. She said it had targeted her, having followed her for hundreds of yards.

We offered to help but her friend had a first aid kit and was able to provide treatment. This is an example of why you should never go on a hike without a one! You never know when you might need it.

Note: Kim created a DIY first aid kit that includes hydrocortisone ointment for bug bites and bee stings among a whole host of other useful things.

Map

Location

From Seattle, get on I-5 and head north then take exit 168B for State Route 520.

Merge right onto I-405 northbound.

Take exit 23 for State Route 522.

Exit onto U.S. Route 2 and continue east for about 20 miles, then look for a gravel pullout to the left. This is the Heybrook Lookout Trailhead.

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Want to hike Washington’s best trails? Check out our other Washington Hiking Guides.

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