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Three Fingers Lookout in Washington

A historic fire observation lookout built on one of the most prominent peaks in Washington

Best time: July–October

Three Fingers Lookout

The Three Fingers Lookout is located on one of the Three Fingers Mountain summits in Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington. The lookout was built in the 1930s and is the oldest of such observation posts in the area, listed at the National Register of Historic Places.

The fire lookout on the elevation of 6,867 ft (2,093 m) is a one-room cabin 14 ft × 14 ft (4.3 m × 4.3 m). Its exterior walls are covered in wooden clapboards. Windows have metal shutters for strong winds. The interior is done on beadboard panels. Construction materials for the cabin were brought up by pack animals up to 600 ft (183 m) lower than the summit and transported further by ropes and ladders.

Three Fingers Lookout hike requires equipment and skills. The steep and strenuous roundtrip trail is 15-mi (24-km) long. It requires traversing of the Three Fingers Glacier, a short rocky climb and going up steep ladders to the lookout itself. The trailhead to the lookout can be reached by the Mt. Loop Highway and Tupso Pass Road (Forest Service road 41). Hikers are rewarded with beautiful views of the Three Fingers Mountain, Meadow Mountain, Saddle Lake, Goat Flats meadows as well as Mount Baker to the north. The best time for a hike is from June or July through October.

Practical info

When is the best time to visit Three Fingers Lookout?

The trail to Three Fingers Lookout in Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest should be accessed between June and October. During these months, hiking the 15 mi trail is possible as the snow has melted, and the trail is accessible. However, snow, sub-zero temperatures, and strong winds make hiking at other times challenging. Show more

What is the length and difficulty level of the hike to the lookout?

The Three Fingers Lookout trail is considered challenging and arduous, even for experienced hikers. The 24 km route crosses the Three Fingers Glacier and involves a short, challenging scramble on rocky terrain. Climbing up steep ladders to the summit requires additional equipment and expertise. Show more

Where is Three Fingers Lookout located in Washington?

The trail to the Three Fingers Lookout inside Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington, can be reached via the Mt. Loop Highway and Tupso Pass Road on Forest Service Road 41. The lookout can be located on one of Three Fingers Mountain summits. Show more

What are the stunning views hikers can enjoy from the lookout?

At the Three Fingers Lookout, hikers can enjoy breathtaking views of the Three Fingers Mountain, Meadow Mountain, Saddle Lake, and Goat Flats meadows. On clear days, it is also possible to view Mount Baker, the highest peak in Washington. Show more

What are the materials needed for hiking, and what equipment should one carry?

As the Three Fingers Lookout trail involves traversing a glacier and steep climbs, it is crucial to have the necessary equipment and attire. Hikers should carry maps, compasses, ice axes, crampons, helmets, and safety ropes. Carrying enough food, water, sunscreen, and warm clothing is necessary. Before embarking on the hike, hikers should check the weather forecast, as the weather can change suddenly and appropriate equipment is required. Show more

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Last updated: by Dari Vasiljeva