Park Butte Lookout Trail is a 7.2 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Concrete, Washington that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from July until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
7.2 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,020 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

birding

camping

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

snowshoeing

walking

forest

river

views

wild flowers

bridge out

rocky

Enjoy incredible views of Mt. Baker and its glaciers throughout the length of this trail. Start in the Mt. Baker National Recreation Area and quickly enter the lush Schriebers Meadow. The Scott Paul Trail junction is about 100 feet from the trailhead on the right. Continue past the junction and wander through waist-high huckleberries and the heather of Schriebers Meadow. This trail section has views of Survey Point to the east and is a great two-mile round trip for families. Next you will reach Rocky Creek and a challenging crossing during periods of heavy runoff. After the first mile climb and switchback through the forest, reaching the second junction with Scott Paul Trail 603.1. Stay left at the junction to continue along Park Butte Trail to Morovitz Meadows. The expansive views offered at the open meadows make this a popular rest spot. At the next junction stay left to go to the Park Butte Lookout. Cathedral Camp is near the next trail junction. Stay left at this junction for Park Butte. The trail levels out some and passes above picturesque Pocket Lake on the left. The last half-mile climbs steeply to the lookout at 5,400 feet elevation and enters the Mt. Baker Wilderness.

17 days ago

We left the trailhead in the dark and still weren’t the first to arrive at the lookout. The guy there said we could share so it worked out great. Clear weather, didn’t even freeze at night. Watched sunset and sunrise and hiked to tarns and bell pass. Tons of day hikers came and went. The trail is boulders in a couple areas below, easy to cross the almost dry river. The twin Sisters range is amazing from up there. Trail got a bit steep when we were just about to the lookout. I’m 68, you can do it too. Mt Baker is my favorite anyway.

hiking
24 days ago

We lucked out with a perfect fall day to enjoy this spectacular hike. It was busy (not surprising as this is probably the last really nice weekend we will have for the year) but people and their dogs were all friendly and well-behaved (unlike at some other popular spots we have been).

Loved the variety of landscapes/scenery the entire way up and the views are hard to beat throughout. We enjoyed a lunch break at the tarns and saw a few people who set up camp alongside the water (noted for next time). As others have mentioned, the last 1/2 to 1 mile is challenging, but making it up to the lookout structure is worth it for truly panoramic views.

We arrived around 11am and found a mostly full parking lot, though still a few spots to park. Total we spent about 4-4.5 hours on the 7.5-8 mile round trip hike with about 20-30 minutes spent taking photos, enjoying lunch and the views, etc.. Definitely a challenging hike but well worth it!

24 days ago

Leg burning 8 mile out and back with Stunning open unobstructed up close views of Mount Baker glaciers. Surprised how Super crowded trail was on a mid October sunny weekend,
Epic glacier views and crowds rival Paradise on Mount Rainier and Bakers Artist Point over popularized PNW destinations.
At least a dozen off leash dogs made wildlife invisible.., when we finally reached the steep top of the ridge two different loose dogs made safety a concern while we were climbing on and off the precariously perched cliff top lookout. Should really make this trail dog free.

27 days ago

The views were breathtaking and Baker felt like it was right there! Great cell service with Verizon at the top (just not inside the fire-lookout structure). Everyone I spoke with said the last mile was a push. When you see the structure from below, keep going. It’s not as far or as close as you think.

The trail was in great shape except two riverbed crossings.... Just walk straight across. There was a bridge to help you across, it’s gone but very easily crossed at the time of my hike (10/16/18)

The road up to the trailhead was in relatively great shape. There were some potholes but that’s a given on heavily traveled dirt roads. The trailhead is 30 minutes from Concrete.

Tip: There are two drive up, single night campsites next to the trailhead.

hiking
1 month ago

One of my all time favorite hikes! It's a must do! I would recommend eating lunch at the tarns!

1 month ago

Trail was overall super amazing, great views, killer nature vibes. Tough time when my group reached the top within the 12 people limit to stay in the lookout but we found three men who weren’t willing to share with anyone else who planned on staying up there. They turned away close to 20 people. So we were forced to walk back down.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

when you feel like you’re close, you’re definitely not. when you get to the open plain and you feel like you’re getting close, you’re not. when you’re climbing up the rocks and you think it’s right around the corner, you most certainly are not. you’ll know you’re close when you can see the lookout. beautiful hike with beautiful views and beautiful people, happy trails!

hiking
2 months ago

We completed this hike yesterday and absolutely loved it! Start at 1 pm and ended at 7 pm, inbetween stopped for views, pics and snacks.
- Drive up to the parking lot was 8 miles and very bumpy and rough, I had a 10+ year old car and drove very slow. Watch out for the potholes!
- Once you reach the parking lot, if you don't have the National Park Pass (which we didn't), at the start of the hike there is an envelope that you can drop $5 into and leave the receipt on the dashboard of your car.
- The initial part of the hike starts out flat which gave our body a nice warm up before the climb began. I consider this hike an intermediate one compared to some of the others I have done but there were still some steep areas that gave me quite a work out (higher up during the hike).
- I am happy I had my poles with me because the path is quite uneven with stones and rocks, the hiking poles kept me steady on my feet.
- We never were bored because there was so much beauty around us! Also delicious wild berries to eat along the way :)
- The top was slightly chilly and windy. Disappointed that Mt. Baker was not fully visible due to clouds but the view was still wonderful. No snow to worry about during the hike.
- For sure we'll be back next time to set up camp and enjoy the stars and mountains!

2 months ago

I'm new to hiking and not in the best shape but I did this trail a little slower than some with a puppy. Beautiful scenery, diverse terrain. Loved it!

2 months ago

Beautiful!! Great hike, pretty views after the meadow. Seemed a lot longer then the posted mileage.

hiking
2 months ago

Even with the heavy smoke, this is an amazing hike! Super diverse and not very hard at all. Could have stayed in the meadows and the lookout all day long. Will definitely be back in early fall

2 months ago

Amazing view!! Worth to hike again!!

hiking
3 months ago

Such a great hike. The road was bumpy but just fine.
The trails has it all Forest, meadows, Waterfalls, Creeks, Small mountain lakes, and lots of wildlife.

hiking
3 months ago

Amazing hike however the road to get to the trail head is awful! SOOO many potholes and was really hard on our little rental car. Once you get to the trail head however it was a really good hike. Would Recommend.

hiking
3 months ago

We camped down the hill at boulder creek and decided to do this hike, it was well worth it and very pretty from the top, we had clear sky and amazing views of baker. On the way down my hiking partner fell and hurt her knee. When I stopped to preform first aid (road rash with rocks in the wound) multiple people came to offer help, which was pretty awesome to see. On our way down some hikers gave us some peanuts to feed some birds and we got to see a lot of dogs on the way down, so my injured partner still had a great time and both of us were shocked by all the friendly caring people on the trails that day. We both can’t wait to go back and explore some more up here. It sure is beautiful!

hiking
3 months ago

the most epic hike I have ever done!!!!

3 months ago

did this hike mid week on a cloudy day. Didnt run into too many people on the ascent. Only a bit of snow as you cross the meadows but it was easy enough to find the trail. we arrived at the look out at about 1pm. There were a handful of others at the lookout a bit earlier and left. We had the lookout to ourselves for a good two hours before the next group showed up. It got fairly busy around 3pm with other hikers. On the way back down it was quite foggy and cloudy which made crossing the snowy meadow a little more challenging but since we were retracing our steps from the morning it wasn't too bad.

hiking
4 months ago

road to parking lot still snowed under for about a mile.
snow up til you hit the trees and climb at which point it gets patchy, but once out of the trees there is snow underfoot the whole way. snow is consolidated though. went about 3/4 of the way, you could make it to the top but weather was crap so decided to head back for a clear day attempt!

hiking
5 months ago

Attempted May 21, with overnight gear as we planned to spend the night up top. Walked 1.2 miles to trailhead as the road was blocked by snow. Entire trail is under snow. Kept going for several more miles but things got too dicey after the trail splits off from the main one going to Baker. There were absolutely no visible trail markers so we were relying entirely on GPS and a map on our phones. Not even a marker for the trailhead, which is beside the washrooms. Tried to follow the trail approximately, up the very steep incline covered in snow. No signs of the summer trail were visible due to the snow and lack of markers, so we were guessing and bushwhacking our way up and down the slope. Dicey with our regular winter traction devices and I think it would be too steep going downhill with snowshoes. Maybe proper mountaineering crampons with inch long spikes would work. Eventually turned around due to slow pace and unfamiliarity with the trail. I’d recommend going this early in the season only if you’ve done the trail before, and better yet, if you’ve done it in winter or you have winter backcountry experience, and armed with excellent traction and a good GPS and detailed trail map. I’d love to try this again in the summer.

6 months ago

May 5. Road snowed out 3 miles from trailhead. Tried to hike the extra distance but turned around 4 miles in. Might be able to do it with snowshoes if you start early morning. Lots of snowmobiles.

hiking
Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Beautiful hike, but definitely bring micro spikes if you have them for the top! There are about 2-3 inches 4800 ft +.

hiking
Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Such a beautiful hike! So lucky to live in the PNW and have this in our backyard. There was quite a bit of snow at the top, so probably not many days left to do this hike this year.

hiking
Sunday, September 10, 2017

Absolutely gorgeous. The meadow and the views of Shuksan are breathtaking. Bring lots of water and be prepared for a 90% uphill slog. Worth it.

backpacking
Sunday, September 03, 2017

Diverse hike and amazing views. My favorite trail in WA so far.

Camped about a mile down from the lookout. Plenty of berries along the trail. Will be sure to return.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Drive up was beautiful. Deep slushy thigh-deep snow prevented any hiking. All upper trails in same condition.

Monday, May 29, 2017

4 stars just for today. We went for hike today 5/28/2017 and the trail was covered deep in snow even before we reached the actual parking spot. Had to park a mile out on the gravel road. We hiked a bit but had to turn back. We will try again maybe mid summer or end.

Monday, April 03, 2017

Moderate hike with spectacular views! Can't wait to go back this summer!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Awesome hike!

hiking
Saturday, September 17, 2016

Wonderful views with relatively small effort. The grade was not overly steep and somewhat short. Almost seems like less than 7 miles. We were extremely impressed with the scenery! This is a must do hike.

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