Sometimes, what the soul craves is a solitary perch high above the treetops. A wilderness retreat where you can watch the weather come, then weather it in comfort, secure in your Forest Service redoubt and surrounded by board games. A place where you can mentally pull the ladder up behind you. That place, of course, is a fire lookout, and in all of Washington there is but one honest-to-god bookable tower.
Located just north of Highway 2, some 55 miles east of Seattle in the Mt Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, the 67-foot Heybrook Lookout Tower reopened a year ago after two decades of dereliction ($75/night). The half-century-old structure—retrofitted in part thanks to Seattle outdoors outfitter Filson—now boasts a full-size bed, working stove, and panoramic, misty views of needle-nose Mt Index and Bridal Veil Falls.
It’s a stone’s throw, too, from the Pacific Crest Trail hiker’s paradise of Skykomish—a railtown home to the historic Whistling Post Tavern and a hostel with a fine slice of pie (Cascadia Inn). And that steep, thorny path in? You’re just giving your heart a head start on the flutter of the next few days of quiet heaven.
Travel Time: 4-hour drive from Portland + 1.2-mile hike