Lookout Tree Trail #783.1

A Walk In History As Well As Scenic Beauty And Wildflowers
The Lookout Tree - 48 foot circumference, photo by Martha Rasmussen

This Trail use to be the southern end of Beaver Lake Trail #783.  The trail descends downward into the woods. Off in the distance you will see an ancient cedar snag standing like a sentinel in the forest. In 1916 this huge cedar tree was made into a Fire Lookout. A crows nest was constructed on the top and spikes were driven into the side of the tree so it could easily be climbed.  During fire season this tree was climbed daily to look for signs of fire. If fire was spotted the ranger would report this to the Forest Service Guard Station which was just beyond this point. The only way to get supplies into the area was by pack train. When Sauk River Timber Company put the train through in 1926, supplies arrived by train.  In the 1930s the Lookout Tree was abandoned as a Fire Lookout. 
Giant cedar across from the Lookout Tree, photo by Martha Rasmussen

On the opposite side of the trail is another magnificent cedar tree seemingly just as huge. They stand together like a gateway taking you to a very special place. After you pass these two amazing trees the trail heads toward the Sauk River. The forest becomes more deciduous and a good walk for Spring wildflowers such as Trillium, Bleeding Heart and Spring Beauty.

The old remains of the railroad trestle built in 1926, photo by Martha Rasmussen

At 1 mile the trail comes to an end at the Sauk River where the trail washed out in 1995.  If you look down river you can see the the remains of the old trestle of Sauk River Lumber Company railroad.  Formerly this portion of the trail, by way of the old railroad grade, connected to the Beaver Lake Trail #783.


Type of Trail: USFS - gone to user trail
Length: 1mile one way
Elevation: 1,000 - 1,200
Level of difficulty: moderate, there is a 200 elevation gain which happens on a slope which is about a 1/3 of the trail

Best Seasons: Later Spring - Summer - Fall

Seasonal Interest:
  • Later spring & early summer lots of wildflowers & butterflies down by the river.
  • Fall the several deciduous trees show nice colors
General Information:
History: Trail takes you to  Lookout Tree which served as a fire lookout.  This is the location of the old Sauk River Guard Station.

Wilderness Restrictions: No

Restrooms: No, closest restroom is White Chuck Overlook to the north.

Bring drinking water

Getting There:  To get to Lookout Tree Trail #783.1 drive 12.1 miles from the Darrington Ranger Station to the Mountain Loop Highway.  There is a small parking area on the right of the road

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