Winchester Mountain Lookout
Winchester Mountain Lookout
Winchester Lookout (from the southwest)
|Location||Mt Baker Ranger District, Whatcom County, Washington|
|MPS||USDA Forest Service Fire Lookouts on Mt. Baker--Snoqualmie National Forest TR|
|NRHP Reference #||87001188|
|Added to NRHP||July 14, 1987|
The historical Winchester Lookout, located in the North Cascades in the U.S. state of Washington, provides views of the Northern Picket Range, Mount Baker, Mount Shuksan and Canadian peaks. The steep snowfields usually require an ice-axe well into July. The Twin Lakes road may not be passable to the trailhead which will add 2 miles (3.2 km) to the hike. Volunteers from the Mount Baker Club maintain the lookout with 2 work parties per year.
The lookout is open to the public for day or overnight use on a first-come first-served basis. Fires are not permitted at all.
Winchester Mountain was named in the early 1900s by prospector Jack Post for the rifle he was carrying. This L-4 cab fire lookout was built in 1935 and staffed until 1966. The lookout was slated for demolition when in 1982 the Mount Baker Club, led by Gary Haufle, worked out a deal with the Forest Service to restore the lookout. The Forest Service provided the materials and the club provided all of the labor.
Winchester Mountain Lookout (added 1987 - Structure - #87001188)
- Mt. Baker Wilderness Area overlooking the north fork of Nooksack River and west fork of Silesia Creek, Sedro Woolley
- Historic Significance: Event, Architecture/Engineering
- Area of Significance: Architecture, Conservation, Politics/Government
- Period of Significance: 1925-1949
- Owner: Federal
- Historic Function: Government
- Historic Sub-function: Fire Station
- Current Function: Government
- Current Sub-function: Fire Station
- Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest 15 miles (24 km) northeast of Mt. Baker Whatcom County, Washington Elevation 6,521 feet (1,988 m)
The lookout is generally inaccessible from early October until mid summer due to snow. If you plan to spend the night in the lookout be aware that it may be occupied when you arrive. There are areas outside the lookout to pitch a tent, or sleep under the stars with no tent. There are 2 bunks in the lookout for overnighters. Propane may be available, provided by the club, but all visitors should arrive prepared with the essentials. A snowfield that lasts late into the summer is behind the lookout and provides a water source. Boil all water.
The trailhead for trail #685 to the top of Winchester Mountain is located between the two Twin Lakes. The steep trail, with a 1,300-foot (400 m) elevation gain, starts in beautiful tall treed forest with fantastic wildflower filled clearings and climbs high into the rough windswept and delicate alpine. There are two very narrow sections of trail with long drops that require sure footing are not for the faint of heart. The trail is 2.1 miles (3.4 km) one-way and rated "more difficult" by the U.S. Forest Service.
The trail head is accessed by the Twin Lakes Road (Forest Service #3065 in the North Fork Nooksack area) off of the Mt Baker Highway. The first 4.5 miles (7.2 km) to the Tomyhoi Lake/Yellow Aster Butte trailhead is well maintained. The remaining 2 miles (3.2 km) of road is not maintained and can only be driven at about 5–15 miles per hour (8–24 km/h) by 4x4 vehicles with high clearance. The unmaintained portion of road is often washed out in the early part of the season and is only fixed up by the miners at the Lone Jack Mine, provided they decide to operate the mine that year based on the price of gold.
- National Park Service (2008-04-15). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
- "Mount Baker Club". Mount Baker Club. 2011-12-28. Retrieved 2012-04-19.
- Majors, Harry M. (1975). Exploring Washington. Van Winkle Publishing Co. p. 30. ISBN 978-0-918664-00-6.
- Whatcom County listings at National Register of Historic Places
- "Winchester Mountain Trail #685 Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest". U.S. Forest Service. Retrieved 2012-04-19.
- "Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest Wilderness Regulations". U.S. Forest Service. Retrieved 2012-04-19.