With most of the hiking trails in Washington state covered in snow or under avalanche warning, Heybrook Lookout is one of the few trails that is accessible during this time of the year. The trailhead is only an hour outside of Seattle and it’s a short hike with steady elevation gain, making it an easy morning hike that can be done in under two hours. The lookout tower itself is an impressive wooden structure and the top offers rewarding views of the Cascades.
I hiked to Heybrook Lookout a few weeks ago and was pleasantly surprised by how accessible the trail was. The trailhead is off the shoulder of Highway 2 and the hike itself is 2.6 miles roundtrip with 900 ft of elevation gain, which meant a quick but steady ascent.
The trail led me through thick mossy forest and over several really well-built wooden bridges and stairs. It was cool but also eerie seeing fog hovering over parts of the trail, especially when there weren’t many people on the trail.
As I neared the top, the landscape turned into tall trees on either side of the trail with a steep hill on one side. There were a couple of openings that looked out over Stevens Pass, but for the most part it was covered in low-lying clouds. Even with the low visibility, it was epic with the trees against the whiteness knowing that there are giant mountains just behind the clouds. I did get lucky and caught a glimpse of the golden snowy mountain peaks through gaps in the clouds.
The trail quickly opened up to the wooden fire lookout tower and I was surprised by how tall it was! I loved the geometric shapes of the structure with the zig-zagging stairs that lead to the lookout platform. At first, I was slightly concerned with the cables supporting the tower. But after being on it, there’s nothing to worry about and the tower is very stable.
The stairs up to the lookout platform was a little scary because they had gaps in between each step. The view from the top was phenomenal with panoramic views of the Cascades mountains all around. I saw the thick cloud cover over Stevens Pass on one side and clear blue skies over the mountains on the other. I also bumped into a couple of people who camped in hammocks overnight and their set up looked pretty epic (but cold).
After hanging out at the top for a good 20 minutes, I began my trek down towards my car. Overall, I liked Heybrook Lookout and thought it was a short but moderately steep hike that offers great views of the Cascades. I especially liked how it was so close to Seattle and can be done in just a few hours, leaving me the entire rest of my day for other activities.