I tell ya, I’ve had some interesting adventures getting to all of Washington’s standing fire lookouts and my visit to Lookout Point just north of Spokane is certainly one of them. Lookout Point is a strange one in that it’s located inside a gated community and the lookout itself is blocked off by high fencing. Since you can’t climb it, there’s no way to enjoy the views and they’d likely only be peek-a-boo ones anyway through the surrounding tall trees.
Even though Lookout Point may well be one of Washington’s least spectacular fire lookouts, it’s still a standing fire lookout in Washington and worthy of visiting.
My dad is an avid peakbagger, so when he came out to Washington in March 2018 to celebrate his 70th birthday, we headed to eastern Washington to visit some lookouts together. On that trip we made it to Quartz, Wellpinit, Mount Spokane, and Lookout Point.
Lookout Point is the only lookout I’ve visited that required a couple mile “urban stroll” through a gated community. That wasn’t what made the adventure so memorable though.
What made Lookout Point so crazy?
A hearse. That’s right.
And not just a hearse, but a really creepy one. With a shovel.
Yep. As my dad and I turned a corner near the lookout summit, we found a rather creepy hearse parked off the road with a shovel propped against the back. The shovel was the icing on the cake of creepiness.
My dad thought it was so funny he asked me to pose in front of it for a photo and I said no way! I fully expected someone to bust out of that thing and scare us both. Was someone in there!? I wasn’t getting near it and I sure as shit wasn’t going to look in the windows to find out! My dad settled with snapping a photo of me cautiously passing the hearse and giving it a lot of room.
I don’t know why but the only vision running through my head was that scene from Silence of the Lambs where Clarice Starling finds Benjamin Raspail’s head tucked neatly into a jar inside an old car.
No. Nope. No thank you!
My dad and I continued up the road, me keeping an eye on that creepy hearse for any signs of movement. Luckily there were none. We took some quick photos of the lookout and got the hell outta there.
The next day we visited Ray Kresek at his famous Fire Lookout Museum in Spokane and we joked about the hearse at Lookout Point. Ray then told us it’s a good thing we respected the “No Trespassing” signs on the summit because he told us a story about the land owner beyond the signs painting someone with the scope of his laser-sighted rifle.
Perhaps the hearse was for trespassers? I suppose I’ll never know.
And that’s my quick story of why Lookout Point landed itself on the list of my top 20 most memorable fire lookout adventures. I mean, c’mon? How many times do you visit a standing fire lookout in Washington with a hearse and a shovel? Definitely file that one under “creepy things you find at a fire lookout.”
A little more about Lookout Point.
Lookout Point had two prior structures on its summit that are long gone, both 40′ wooden towers with flattop cabs. The existing structure on the site was first constructed on Mica Peak near the Idaho border in 1956. In 1976 it was moved to its existing location at Lookout Point and still stands today.
There is a gated community called River Bluff Ranch that now surrounds the lookout but so far there hasn’t been any reported trouble with hiking through the community to access the lookout. Some have waited for the gates to open and then driven up the road, but I imagine it may be less confrontational to simply hike the short distance. While the lookout itself has no views, the walk through the community is quite lovely!
As far as the hearse? I have no idea if it’s still there. Many have reported not seeing it. I suppose if you visit you should keep your eyes open and definitely not venture onto the private land beyond the lookout. You might just end up inside the hearse.
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