Out on US-2, there lies Heybrook Lookout – one of 106 remaining fire lookouts in Washington State. This one is probably the fastest and easiest to get to, but I promise you’ll still get a nice sweat going in the process.
There are two ways to access the Heybrook Lookout. One path starts from the town of Index and one starts from US-2. We’re taking the US-2 route.
From the side of a busy road is a weird place to start a hike. With the sounds of passing cars hanging with you for the first 15-20 minutes, it’s hard to feel genuinely “out there.”
But once you’re back from the road a bit, the foliage starts to protect you from those noises and you can enjoy a well-trod trail packed with pine and fern. This is a second-growth forest, regenerated after clear-cutting in the 1920s.
As you can tell from the title of this blog post, I’m hiking with my dad today. He’s really interested in fire lookouts. I suspect you are too since you have found your way to this post.
The hike is steep at times, but it is very doable for hikers of all fitness levels. Without rushing, Dad and I covered the 1.3 miles in about 45 minutes.
Hey! There it is!
Lookouts have stood on this location beginning in 1925. The current lookout was constructed in 1965 and staffed until the early 70s.
Just a few more steps and we’ll be there. Okay, 89 more steps to be exact.
At the top is an observation deck (and a cabin – see the steps in the photo below). Hikers can reserve the cabin for an overnight on Recreation.gov. If you’re a reservation holder, you can pick up your key at the ranger station to unlock the cabin.
We’re just day hikers, so we’re happy to just visit the observation deck.
At 67 feet tall, the Heybrook Lookout tower gives a great view of the surrounding area.
Heybrook Ridge itself gives you a 1,700-foot boost and allows you to see down Highway 2, Mount Index and Bridal Veil Falls, Mount Baring, Mount Persis, and the Wild Sky Wilderness.
Early in our visit, the clouds socked in the peaks, but we still enjoyed what we could see. Luckily, the afternoon would give us some clearing.
A zoom to Bridal Veil Falls across the way from Heybrook Lookout.
A view down US-2 toward Index with a peek at the Skykomish River.
There’s not much inside the observation deck portion, but I’ll show you anyway. Some carvings, some unimaginative graffiti, and an old padlock. You’re here for the view.
There are lots of birds hanging out looking for scraps. We probably shouldn’t have tried to feed them, but they’re probably already spoiled.
We took a little walk down a different path from the lookout and by the time we came back to the lookout the clouds had mostly cleared away. This gave us some incredible views down US-2 into the Cascade mountain range.
Time to head back down the tower and head home.
The cabin was locked up, but I managed to find this information on the Recreation.gov listing.
The 14 x14-ft. cabin at the very top sleeps four and is furnished with one twin-sized bed with a mattress, two additional floor mattresses, a table and chairs, a propane stove, a pot, a pan, silverware, a coffee pot, and battery-operated lanterns. There is no water at the site. Guests must bring water for drinking, cooking, and washing. Guests must also bring flashlights, sleeping bags, towels, dish soap, matches, a first aid kit, toilet paper, and garbage bags. All trash and food must be packed out, and guests are expected to clean the cabin before leaving.
Welp, it’s another 1.3 miles back down from Heybrook Ridge. We took our time and checked out the trees, the fungi, and the animals.
Oh hey there, buddy!
Taking things a little more slowly on the forest floor.
This was a super fun hike that is so easy and gives such an amazing payoff view that I intend to do it again soon. Maybe I’ll even reserve an overnight in the cabin and update this blog post once I do.
Drive US Highway 2 to the boundary of Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest at milepost 37.5, just east of the town of Index turnoff. Parking for the trailhead is located across from the boundary sign, on the north side of the highway.
A very enjoyable and memorable hike! Not too strenuous of a hike getting to the top but it gets your heart rate up. The views were amazing! Jonathan, you never disappoint me when you come up with these getaways!
Of course! We’ll find another lookout to hike to next year.