Forum Index > Trip Reports > Cascade Lookout 3702'    7-15-05
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Beave
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Beave
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PostFri Jul 15, 2005 7:13 pm 
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While I rarely dabble below the 5000’ level, I make special exceptions for lookouts. This little known lookout is hardly given the time of day on topographic maps and especially on GT maps. One can find it by locating Mt Phelps and Little Phelps (shown as Phelps and McClain on most maps). From these two summits, scroll W and you should be able to see it amongst a web of logging roads. Better yet, from the W end of the South Fork Tolt Reservoir, scroll directly S and it’s the first summit you’ll come across. The way up is entirely on gated Weyerhauser logging roads that appear active, but I only saw one vehicle drive by me all day (on a Friday). I chose to bike up but those who don’t mind a logging road walk may find this a place of interest as well. GT’s maps are useful for road #’s but I opted for mounting my GPS to my bike, preprogrammed with waypoints and accompanied by a printed map with those waypoints overlaid.

I’ll do my best to describe the important details of the route: While traveling generally NNE on the North Fork Snoqualmie River Rd, a few miles after the Spur 10 Gate, I parked at a gated road, just before the road junction listed as “1289’” on topographic maps and also before crossing “Wagner Bridge”, also shown on my maps. If you’ve reached the 2nd bridge crossing on the N Fork Rd, you’ve gone a little too far and need to turn around. That “1289” road is bermed and overgrown, but the road before is in fine condition and makes the same connection. Now traveling NNW, I pedaled to the junction listed as “1300”, a 4 way intersection where the road condition improves dramatically. Turning right, or E, I continued up through both recently cut slopes as well as older growth stands of trees. One may notice that if heading N, or straight through that 4-way at 1300’, you can approach Cascade from a different road up the Deep Creek drainage. Don’t do it! Thanks to a tip from Fay Pullen, the mouth of that valley suffered a large rockslide and the road is no longer passable; Apparently it’s even difficult to hike around the debris. Anyhow, at the junction listed as “1767”, I turned left or NNW, passing another road and going up towards a large switchback. Ok, so those are the most important details. Figuring out the rest of my route should be easy to those considering visiting this lookout. There are a couple roads (new and old) that aren’t on my maps, but at those junctions I always found the right way to be fairly obvious.

Riding around the “snout” of 3087’ was somehow entertaining, and although at this point I was being rained on, I imagine the views from here on a nicer day would be, well, nicer! At about 3000’ I crossed Deep Creek and rejoined the road that comes up from the rockslide. From here on, the road and the surroundings take on a whole new look. The forests are much older, and the roads see much less travel as indicated by encroaching brush and moss strips running down the center. Little saplings were seen growing in the road. Although still within shouting distance of clearcuts, I got a sudden feeling of isolation and a more “wilderness-like” experience. I felt a lot farther out than I really was. It is a very abrupt change in scenery.

A few more small ups and downs and suddenly the lookout was above me. I parked and paid homage to my 2-wheeled companion who had greatly eased my travels. No views are to be had until ascending the 5 flights of stairs that take you above the trees. Please note that the poor (rickety see-saw) condition of the first few steps are the worst, and the remaining stairs above are still in decent shape. I still tested all the rails and steps on the steep flights as some were cracked-thru and the only thing to break your fall would be the ground far below. The lookout has a wrap-around porch and a surprising number of intact windows, with the broken ones being boarded up. The insides are dry, empty and fairly clean, with the only trash being old window glass in the corners. The door has a “lock”, similar to those on backyard gates, which allow access, but don’t really lock. I escaped the rain and sat down inside for some lunch. Thoughts of storm-watching, star-gazing and just hanging out overnight drifted in and out of my head. This is a fairly nice lookout with minimal traffic from what I saw. My views were limited to Phelps and Little Phelps, the Tolt Reservoir and the non-distinct summits of Dog, Lennox, Bare and Goat. I had hoped to get views of Frozen as well as the backs of Index and Persis, but the clouds were just close enough to obscure those peaks. For a 3702’ lookout, you’ll definitely get your moneys worth in views on a nicer day.

Minimal climbing was required while riding back. I enjoyed riding above the clouds, in the clouds and below the clouds, where the road grade improved and I was cooking along at speeds over 35mph. Having been in the rain w/ shorts and a T-shirt all day, I was happy to arrive back at my truck and my awaiting change of clothes.

Stats: 16 miles RT, 3000’ gain, 1:40 hrs up, 30min down




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Cascade Lookout
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Drivers Seat
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Flowers
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Mt Phelps and Little Phelps
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Straight Arrow
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Joined: 24 Jul 2004
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Location: Omaha, NE
Straight Arrow
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PostFri Jul 15, 2005 7:35 pm 
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Nice!  Sounds like you had a great ride.  Lookout towers are like a magnet to me too.

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It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.
.-.
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Stones
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Joined: 08 Apr 2004
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Stones
funk soul brother
PostFri Jul 15, 2005 7:48 pm 
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I thought I was one of the few to still use a Magellan 315 (I have a Cateye Mity 8, too).  Nice report and photos.

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wildernessed
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Joined: 31 Oct 2004
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wildernessed
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PostSat Jul 16, 2005 7:45 am 
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So that's how you get up and down those peaks so quick, you should get a summit photo of the bike up.gif , some propulsion sysytem  ! winksmile.gif
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JimK
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PostSat Jul 16, 2005 8:07 pm 
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Beave,
Thanks for the idea. I needed a nice long leg stretcher and this fit the bill. I also like lookouts and it's nice to add another one to the list of those I have visited. A few minor corrections: The start is 5.7 miles beyond Spur 10. It is also .20 miles beyond a narrow bridge (not over the Snoqualmie River). There is a gate on each side of the road.

No need to add another report. I likely had less of a view than you did. I did not see a soul all day long. It rained off and on. Here are a few additional photos:

In The Clouds
In The Clouds
Inside View
Inside View
A Long Way Down
A Long Way Down

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Hiking Northwest
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Scrooge
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Joined: 16 Dec 2001
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Scrooge
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PostSat Jul 16, 2005 9:08 pm 
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Harvey Manning wrote up Cascade Lookout in (the sorely missed) "Footsore II". In fact, it was one of the longest entries in the guide.

It was one of the first hikes I did out here and, sure enough, it rained.    frown.gif

In spite of that, Phelps Ridge became a favorite stomping ground till that landslide cut the original route ....... and then Wyerhauser traded the eastern three miles of the ridge to the DNR, which promptly trenched the whole section, ending easy hikes up Mt Phelps.     mad.gif

David

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Something lost behind the ranges. Lost and waiting for you....... Go and find it. Go!
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Beave
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Joined: 21 Dec 2001
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Beave
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PostSat Jul 16, 2005 11:46 pm 
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Thanks for all the feedback, additional pictures and directions. I'm glad this report was entertaining and useful, despite my NWBiking to the top.

I rarely get a chance to use my GPS, but I find the 315 does everything I need it to and then some. It was the first time using it on the bike and it made non-stop route-finding a breeze. This was important, as I arrived at the TH at 12:50pm and had to be back in Redmond for an appt at 5pm.

Here is a pic of the summit machine,

Beave




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NWBiker
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lookout bob
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Joined: 12 Apr 2005
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Location: wta work while in between lookouts
lookout bob
WTA proponent.....
PostMon Jul 18, 2005 7:18 am 
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Beave...nice report....I went in to Cascade last year with a group from the Forest Fire Lookout Association and we did an assessment of the lookout as well as securing the door(was flapping in the wind..) and fixing a couple windows.  The land is owned by Hancock timber and they show no willingness to use or update the lookout to a rental....it's a real shame as with a little work, Cascade could be a very nice rental.  The structure is o.k except a little rot where the legs join behind steel reinforcments.  The floor needs work as do the windows.  It was nice to see your pictures and know that at least someone is visiting this forgotten lookout.  I hope you enjoyed your ride.   smile.gif

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"Altitude is its own reward"
John Jerome ( from "On Mountains")
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Stefan
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Stefan
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PostMon Jul 18, 2005 8:20 am 
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Thanks for the road details.  I have planned to bike up there before work one of these mornings this year.

Stefan

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marzsit
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marzsit
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PostMon Jul 26, 2010 2:32 am 
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old thread, cascade lookout collapsed in 2008 and is no more....frown.gif
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TomG
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PostMon Jul 26, 2010 10:44 am 
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marzsit wrote:
old thread, cascade lookout collapsed in 2008 and is no more....frown.gif

Without knowing this, I went searching for the lookout a few months ago.  After an initial exploratory trip to the area, I set out on a mountain bike.  I made it past Deep Creek and then got lost in a maze of logging roads.  I never found the lookout.  I went home and discovered the reason--it had fallen.  Without the lookout standing above the trees as a guide point, it's difficult to find the collapsed remains.  Too bad.

Pictures of the wreckage...

http://www.eskimo.com/~joelm/fire/lookout.html

The ride did provide a lot of solitude and great views of Phelps and the surrounding peaks.  I was hoping for a view north down to the Tolt Reservoir but I never found a good clearing.
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Cascade Lookout 3702'    7-15-05
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