Red Top Lookout Trail is a 1 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Cle Elum, Washington that offers the chance to see wildlife and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 1.0 miles Elevation Gain: 305 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

forest

views

wildlife

rocky

snow

PLEASE READ DIRECTIONS HERE. GPS does not follow full forest road in this area. You can drive straight to the trailhead, but will not work using GPS coordinates. From Cle Elum, WA take Highway 903 east 0.4 mile. Continue onto Highway 10 E / 970 E. Continue to follow Highway 970 E for 9.7 miles. Continue onto US-97 N for 6.7 miles. Turn left on Forest Road 9738, follow 9738 west to Road 9702, follow 9702 south, then north to the trailhead just under Red Top Mountain, about 7 miles from Highway 97. Parking: There is parking for 20+ vehicles, and one vault toilet.

hiking
6 hours ago

Trail is closed, see picture

hiking
6 days ago

Really beautiful but not much of a hike. Road and trial are snow free. Once to the trail head only took us about 10 minutes to get to the lookout (with 3 kids in tow). Beautiful views. Cold and windy at top but not too bad. Lookout is closed currently but you are able to explore around it. If you’re looking for a calorie burning hike this isn’t the one. The adventure is in the drive up the forest road. Be careful if you follow google maps. It stops you about a mile shy of the parking lot/trailhead.

hiking
rocky
6 days ago

I parked approx. 5 miles away so I got a good workout on our way even before we started the trail itself which was less than a mile (kind of steep though). Overall it was worth it. It is so beautiful all around but quite windy. Don't do what I did and forget your jacket in the car. :)

hiking
8 days ago

No snow on the road or trail. Steep but short climb. Pretty windy at the top! Beautiful in all directions.

hiking
no shade
rocky
9 days ago

I wanted to hike this trail the day before but plans had changed and I ended up hiking it today. The weather was less than perfect but not so bad it would keep me away. The drive to the trailhead was long but beautiful. I was coming from Snohomish County so I took I-90 out but learned I could've taken HWY 2 into Leavenworth and headed South to the forest road. And it would've saved me a left turn into oncoming traffic on a busy highway. The road was dry with one large patch of snow that was off to the side so it didn't pose any concerns. There are a lot of side roads that'll take you all over the mountain but if you stay the course, you'll eventually run into signage that will keep you on track. Just set your odometer and you'll be fine. When I arrived at the trailhead, there were 5-6 cars but the people were mostly interested in rock finding and not the actual hike up to the lookout. The trail leading up to the lookout is mostly dry, muddy in the forested section but not so muddy you'd need any special gear to negotiate. Once at the lookout, the wind really picked up. Like in previous trip reports, it was cold. Very cold. The wind whipped around further lowing the temperature. I would say it was barely 40 degrees at the summit. So dress warm. I spent the majority of my time at the lookout alone. It was a fun hike and probably a lot more enjoyable when it's not so cold.

nature trips
15 days ago

If you're looking for a nice view and place to hang around for a bit this is a great option. The drive might be the hardest part for some people. There was a couple snow patches when I went but easy enough to get through in a fwd with some speed.

hiking
icy
muddy
off trail
snow
1 month ago

The view is amazing, hands down beautiful view. Although, unless you have a snowmobile, dirt bike, UTV or very high clearance vehicle, you will have to park about 4.5 miles from the trail head during this time of year. Once all the snow melts you will be able to drive all the way up to the parking lot but that won’t be for at least another month, if not more. If you are able to drive all the way up, you will be able to take the very short but steep hike up to the lookout tower and enjoy the view.

hiking
4 months ago

Tried this hike on New Year’s Day. Couldn’t get to the trailhead because they had snow plowed barriers I couldn’t get around. I was really irritated because my car does great in the snow and I have chains. Won’t be back to the area for a while

6 months ago

Hard short hike with amazing views and nice road to the trail head. Made it in my slightly lowered car. There was a few icy spots

hiking
snow
7 months ago

Awesome! Hike was only about 0.5 miles and is pretty steep to get to the actual lookout but the views are breathtaking! Snow and ice at this elevation, and the road is pretty rugged so I recommend 4-wheel drive in October. Planned on hammocking from the supports, but too much ice today!

hiking
8 months ago

We showed up to hike this around 2pm in the afternoon on a Wednesday, but the gate to the forest road was closed and locked. We still had 40 minutes of driving ahead of us, so we just called it a loss and turned around.

recorded Red Top Lookout Trail

hiking
9 months ago

Roads were hell. No low clearance vehicle could make it thru the last leg of it. Beautiful views tho!

hiking
9 months ago

The lookout it's self is awesome and the short hike is steep but very doable for the average person. That said the road up there in beyond horrible. So many large rocks and bolders that not only make it hard for a standard car, but even for trucks and such with plenty of clearance. So bumpy and needing repair the average speed is like 10 or under. Only reason i gave it a 4 out of 5.

hiking
scramble
10 months ago

Wonderful short trail. About halfway up there is a small area with lovely wildflowers on both sides of the trail. Near the top it gets rocky so watch your footing. On a clear day you get breathtaking views of Mount Rainier, Adams, and Stuart.

hiking
no shade
10 months ago

Would recommend a high clearance vehicle

hiking
10 months ago

Yep, it’s steep, but not to bad! The views......unreal! I like when they staff the lookouts and we can go in! Always has great staff willing to answer any questions! Great place, highly recommend!

hiking
10 months ago

Great trail! Steep incline going up the red top trail. Take the Agate bed trail, but cut up to the left vice going towards the bed, you won’t have such an incline. Great way to come down as well. Beautiful views, worth the effort! GPS takes you to the right road, you just have to keep going for a couple more miles. It is a very rough road, but manageable.

hiking
11 months ago

Short and sweet. The road in is bumpy, but completely manageable. Steep, but quick, hike to the top. The view was gorgeous.

hiking
11 months ago

The lookout is open for season now. It was too windy, but the views were awesome.

11 months ago

Awesome little hike! We even saw a bear on the drive up!

hiking
11 months ago

This quick hike has great views from the top! I would recommend poles for coming down - there were a few slick places due to loose gravel on top of compact dirt. Definitely read the directions posted here and be cautious on the drive. The road is well maintained, just narrow and has a few blind corners.

hiking
rocky
11 months ago

We decided that this trail might be good for younger kids as the elevation gain was minimal and the distance wasn't bad either. It is quite steep as you make your way to the lookout. Part way up the trail is littered with shale. This makes the ascent with little ones a bit tricky, but the view at the top is well worth it. You can see Mt. Rainier and the Stuarts quite well. Overall it's a great area with plenty of trails you can get around on.

hiking
Sat May 25 2019

Nice place for kids the trail to the agate beds has some sketchy areas of just rock. The tower at top was locked. By the time we left 1030am the place was starting to get busy. I’m glad we went early, not much for views because of the clouds but still a cool spot.

hiking
Sun May 12 2019

Steep but short hike up to the lookout. Unfortunately it was locked up so you couldn’t get onto the deck. Quite windy as well! Views of Mt Stuart, Mt Rainier, and surrounding peaks were beautiful, though a bit hazy. Not busy at all on a Sunday afternoon. Took the trail down the backside to the agate beds and back to make a loop. Some patches of snow, the most sketchy part being just below the lookout, were passable with carefully placed steps. Agate beds were fairly unremarkable, especially with how much people have dug them up. I did enjoy the meadows up there however. Pretty blankets of wildflowers. The trail back below the lookout was a great way to view the interesting rock formations of the area. Do not attempt FS road 9702 - we got our pickup stuck in a deep patch of snow that required assistance to get out. Give it a couple more weeks before trying.

hiking
Mon Nov 12 2018

11.12.2018 First time on this hike and it was worth it. The road is bumpy and lots of potholes. The trail was only a half a mile up from the parking lot. Incline is steep but not super challenging to get up. There was a layer of snow coming up the road and some snow at the top of the lookout. I’d definitely be going back again. The view was clear and crisp up there.

Thu Oct 18 2018

Showing results 1 - 26 of 100