|Twisp River Valley, Gardner Mountain, and the Pasayten peaks from Lookout Mountain Lookout|
Access: Rocky, steep gravel road to trailhead; no pass required
Lookout Mountain is a reminder that generic doesn't mean bad. Peak names don't get much more generic than Lookout Mountain and the view from the summit of Lookout Mountain really is just another generic view of the North Cascades; but what that means practically is that this is a hike with a sweeping view and that the view from atop Lookout Mountain Lookout encompasses some beautiful and rarely seen peaks. This hike is short and the scenery excellent but not exceptional; while it's certainly worth hiking if you happen to be in Methow Valley, it's not worth a dedicated trip if you're traveling from Seattle or farther. It also appears to be a decent bit off the beaten path: I saw only one other group of hikers on a sunny June Saturday when hundreds of hikers were crowding Lake Serene, Mason Lake, and other overloved Seattle area hikes.
I set out for this hike from Seattle in the morning, taking I-5 north to Burlington and then Highway 20 east all the way to Twisp; at Twisp, I turned right (west) onto the Twisp River Road and soon after turned left onto the Lookout Mountain Road. The Lookout Mountain Road was initially paved but soon turned into a good gravel road, which I followed into the boundaries of Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. The road was in good condition until making a sharp switchback for the final ascent to a saddle just north of the peak. Here, the road became filled with sharp rocks and steep and a bit rutted in a few spots; I took it slow and made it up to the unmarked trailhead parking at the saddle in a Prius. The road continues slightly past the saddle, but you should park at the saddle itself because the road becomes much rougher and there's no parking further up.
The start of the trail follows the old road uphill along the north ridge of Lookout Mountain. The road quickly narrowed into a single track trails, which ascended through a pine forest dotted with blooming paintbrush, lupine, larkspur, and penstemon; the arrowleaf balsamroot was unfortuantely already past prime when I hiked but presumably would have been in bloom earlier in June or May.
|Penstemon and Larkspur|
About three-quarters of a mile in, the trail swung towards the west and began to traverse along the wooded northwest aspect of the mountain towards the west ridge. At points, the trees cleared briefly to open views of the Okanogan Range to the northeast and the peaks of the Pasayten Wilderness to the north.
|Trail with a view of the Okanogan Range|
|Hoodoo and Oval Peaks from Lookout Mountain|
|View down the Methow Valley towards the Columbia Plateau|
|Lookout Mountain Lookout|
|Tiffany Mountain and the Okanogan Range rise over Twisp and the Methow Valley|
|Cascades reflected in Lookout Mountain Lookout|
|Robinson and the Pasayten Peaks|