Park Butte is one of the most popular Mount Baker area hikes for a variety of reasons: unobstructed mountain views, a moderately steep trail with access to campsites, and an open, maintained historic fire lookout built in 1932 and was in service until 1961. Its style is known as an L-4, a square fourteen by fourteen-foot (about 4.27 by 4.27-meter) wood cab atop heavy timber posts with a cedar-shingled gable roof and operable shutters protecting a full width of ribbon windows at each side. It was the most popular live-in lookout design and one that was replicated across the Northwest.
The Forest Service now uses advanced technology to search for fires, but decades ago fire lookouts proliferated on the peaks of the Cascades. One of the few remaining intact lookouts is on Park Butte; it is maintained through the volunteer efforts of the Skagit Alpine Club.
When you reach the lookout, at 5450 feet (1.661 m) elevation, sign the lookout register, or even pen an entry in the poetry register. Gnarled mountain hemlocks, subalpine fir, and noble fir surround the lookout. Directly north are the Black Buttes, Lincoln and Colfax. To the southwest are the Twin Sisters, and the Nooksack River valley heads west to the horizon. And if the fates favor you with a sunny day, bask in the views of the sheer white glaciers of Koma Kulshan.
And the best thing: a first-come-first-serve camping overnight is available in the fire lookout. Arrival as early as 10 or 11 am may be necessary to snag this perk!
You’ll find more detailed information here.