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Washington State Fire Lookouts Open for Overnight Stays

Rentals.

There are currently seven fire lookouts in Washington that are available as pre-booked rentals through various agencies. These lookouts can be very popular and often difficult to reserve. Some of the seasons on these rentals are short but Steliko and Clearwater are typically open year-round.

*It’s debated whether the Hamma Hamma Guard Station actually qualifies as a “lookout” but it was at one point in time used for fire spotting purposes. At any rate, it makes a marvelous overnight destination, but I don’t consider it a rentable lookout.

Heybrook — 1,824′

Glacier Peak/North Stevens Pass

Recently remodeled, Heybrook is available May 1 – October 31 on a 6-month rolling basis. Dates book up fast, good luck!

Rental info »

Evergreen Mountain — 5,587′

Glacier Peak/North Stevens Pass

Evergreen is available for rental between August 18 – September 30. Booking usually begins in early February.

Rental info »

Quartz Mountain — 5,160′

Southwest Selkirks

Available for rental June 15 – September 30 each year.

Rental info »

Steliko Point — 2,586′

Chelan Mountains

A new rental as of late 2019, reservations are available by calling the Entiat Ranger Station, but Steliko is closed for 2020/2021 due to the Covid pandemic.

Rental info »

Tyee— 6,654′

Entiat Mountains

Tyee is one of the most recent additions to Washington’s rentable fire lookouts and was beautifully remodeled by US Forest Service employees and volunteers.

Rental info »

Clearwater — 5,658′

Northern Blue Mountains

The lookout tower is closed to the public but the cabin at the base of the lookout is available for rental year-round.

Rental info »

North Mountain — 3,824′

Mountain Loop Area

North Mountain was beautifully restored by the Friends of North Mountain in cooperation with the US Forest Service and was just placed into a rental program through Airbnb in August 2021.

Rental info »


First come, first served.

Seven fire lookouts in Washington are currently available for first-come, first-served stays. Know that these are all incredibly popular locations and first come, first served also means different things to different people. Some believe that once a lookout is occupied, it is rude to invite yourself in. Others believe that the lookout is open to all. I’ve had great fortune with solitude at some of these lookouts and I’ve also shared some pretty incredible experiences with others.

I recommend checking your expectations at the trailhead, having an open mind, and never assuming you’ll be able to spend the night or have the lookout all to yourself. Please treat these structures and fellow guests with respect. Leave them better than you found them and consider a donation to the volunteer groups who help maintain these for everyone to enjoy. We have very few open fire lookouts in Washington State. Be the reason we have more, not less.

Note: the status of any of these lookouts could change at any time. Always be prepared with a backup plan and overnight gear in case the lookout is full, locked, damaged, or not available.

Burley Mountain — 5,304′

Mount Adams Area

Burley does seem to be open for overnight stays and many have reported staying the night. There is also ample camping space on the summit.

More info »

Mount Pilchuck — 5,340′

Mount Pilchuck State Park

Note: Though many in the lookout community have said Pilchuck is not officially open for overnight stays, the Forest Service website does indicate it is. I was told to ask permission from the Ranger District first.

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Three Fingers — 6,850′

Mountain Loop Area

Know that there is absolutely no summit space for camping here if the lookout is full, but there are campsites below the glacier, at Tin Can Gap, and lower down at Goat Flats.

More info »

Winchester — 6,510′

Skagit Range

Note: After repeated damage from visitors, Winchester is now closed from November through May or later.

More info » 

Hidden Lake — 6,890′

Central North Cascades

This one is incredibly popular. Know what you’re getting into if you make a winter ascent. Hidden Lake is surrounded by avalanche terrain and isn’t for the inexperienced.

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Park Butte — 5,440′

Skagit Range

Park Butte is a great winter destination, but know what you’re doing. Park Butte has been the location of several avalanche fatalities.

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Lookout Mountain — 5,699′

Central North Cascades

Lookout Mountain can be accessed year-round, but again, if you’re making a winter ascent, know what you’re getting into with snow and avalanche conditions. There is a steep avalanche slope below the lookout.

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