I have only been to a fire lookout once, and it was by accident. The experience of being high above the landscape was exhilarating, and the views were outstanding, but I didn’t stay long, as I thought I was trespassing.
That’s until I did a bit of research and found out that you can actually rent some of them out! There are nearly 200 fire lookouts still standing across the US, and they provide some of the best views of the surrounding landscape.
The Three Fingers Lookout in Washington is no exception, and in this video by Drew Simms, he does an amazing job at showing you just how epic this secluded fire lookout is. The only problem is the 36-mile round trip. You read that right. The trek is 18 miles out and back through some of the most beautiful and isolated mountainous areas northeast of Seattle. He makes the hike look pretty easy, though, given that there’s a monstrous 6,870 feet of cumulative vertical gain. If you can navigate past the permanent snowfield and the wooden ladder system to reach the peak, however, you’ll be rewarded with views you could have only dreamt about. And at your disposal is a safe, cozy little structure to take shelter in while on top of the world.
I realize that the Three Fingers Lookout might not be an attainable destination for many people. But now that you know places like this exist, you really should do yourself a favor and research if there are any fire lookouts near you, and if they too can be used for a night or two. I would start with The Forest Fire Lookout Association; they have a page located here specifically for lookout rentals.