Long Weekends: Above the Treetops

This Washington Lookout Tower Offers the Ultimate Solitude

Recently retrofitted, Heybrook boasts board games and panoramic views alike.

By Ramona DeNies September 11, 2018 Published in the October 2018 issue of Portland Monthly

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

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