Hike to Park Butte Lookout

Park Butte Trail

A quick, scenic hike leads you to a secluded cabin perched atop a jagged peak overlooking a massive volcano.

This place is really the stuff of fairy tales.

Where else can you find a tiny cabin with 360-degree views of stunning mountain scenery? To the west, you can see all the way to Bellingham and the Puget Sound. To the south and east lie the jagged North Cascades. And the entire northern horizon is dominated by Koma Kulshan, or Mount Baker to us non-natives.

To get here, start with an easy hike through Schreiber's meadow. Share the trail with parties lugging much heavier packs than yours, as this is also the starting point for climbers trying to reach the summit of Baker via the standard Easton Glacier route.

After about a mile, the trails starts gaining elevation, but after only a short while grinding up switchbacks in the trees, the trail spits you out into a "Woooo"-inducing alpine meadow. Look for the trail split to Park Butte, as the main trail continues up to the climbers' camp.

With about a mile to go, the trail leaves the gentle meadows and starts up a rocky ridge - but don't worry, you'll take a break very soon once you come across a cluster of tiny tarns overlooking Baker. Be sure to minimize damage to this fragile alpine environment and stick to existing trails!

After putting your camera away, you're almost there! Only another fifteen minutes or so and you'll arrive at the historic fire lookout. Feel free to go in - it's open to the public - just be sure to leave this gem better than you found it.

What's more, you can fall asleep and wake up to this view - as the fire lookout is free and open on a first-come, first-served basis.

For the winter snowshoe, check out this adventure.

Pack List

  • 10 Essentials
  • Camera
  • Plenty of water
  • Overnight gear if you plan to stay in the lookout
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RT Distance 8 Miles
Activities Camping, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Dog Friendly
Forest
Lake
Romantic
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife
Swimming Hole

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Beaut

Hard to beat a great fire lookout hike. Incredible views of Baker and the surrounding North Cascades. WTA says this hike is 7.5 miles out and back, we tracked closer to 8. Definitely felt the elevation, but well worth it. Get up there early if you want the best camp sites. Slim to no water available for refills in late August.

Stellar View Of Koma Kulshan

Came at trail from the East on FR 38 off Mosquito Lake Rd by Acme, log and rope footbridge across Nooksack River. Killer hike!

Never fully reached the lookout however the path to get there is amazing and fun! Be warmed the snow was up to mid calve by the time I actually reached the upper part of the mountain and was unprepared! Pack well and bring snow shoes for sure! Ill definitely have to come back near summers end!


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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