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Observation Peak

Southwest Washington


Southwest Washington -- Lewis River Region
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5.0 miles, roundtrip


Gain: 500 ft.
Highest Point: 4207 ft.


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WTA worked here: 2018

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass

Visit a the site of an old fire lookout, where you'll have views for miles in all directions on a clear day. Along the way, you'll enjoy wildflowers of many varieties, beargrass, and plump huckleberries in the summertime.

The lookout that used to stand at the summit was built in 1934 and was abandoned in the 1960s. The Observation Trail 132 links to the Observation Peak Trail 132A, a spur to the former lookout site. For a short hike begin at the Observation Peak Trailhead for a 5.0 mile roundtrip. Or you can start at the south end of the 132 trail by parking at the Trapper Creek Trailhead for a 12 mile roundtrip hike.

If you prefer loops, pick up a map and see the many ways you can loop the summit into a circuit with the Big Hollow 158, Trapper Creek 192 or one of several primitive connector trails.

The 5.0 mile option, begins at the Observation Peak Trailhead on Forest Road 58. It is a steep climb at first, but then levels off before climbing more gently to a view of Mt. Adams about a mile from the trailhead.

Then the route descends to a junction with the Big Hollow Trail 158 about 1.6 miles from the trailhead. Trail 158 is another way to loop up to Observation Peak from the Trapper Creek Trailhead. If you need to fill up on water, find a spring about 100 yards down the 158 trail among a thicket of slide alder.

The jct of 132 and 158 has a small camp spot know as Berry Camp. To continue to the summit, go straight passing the 158 jct on your left and then the upper end of the Trapper Creek Trail 192 on your right. In 0.4 miles you are at a 4 way junction. The Observation Peak Trail 132A climbs to the summit, the 132 contours along Howe Ridge down to the Trapper Creek trailhead, and the 132B "shortcut" trail drops down to intersect the Trapper Creek Trail 192.

The summit and its amazing views is just 0.8 miles up the 132A (Observation Peak) trail.


Observation Peak

Map & Directions

Co-ordinates: 45.9499, -122.0401 Open map in new window


Southwest Washington -- Lewis River Region

Observation Trail (#132)

Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Mount Adams Ranger District

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Guidebooks & Maps

Day Hiking: South Cascades (Nelson - Mountaineers Books)

Buy the Green Trails Lookout Mountain No. 396 map

Getting There

Observation Peak is accessible from both the north and the south end of the Observaton Trail 132.

The northern trailhead is labelled the "Observation Peak Trailhead" on Forest Service maps. It is off of Rd 58. You can also opt for a longer approach (but shorter drive) by picking up the Observation Trail 132 from the Trapper Creek Trailhead.

Drive north from Carson on the Wind River Highway to the Forest Boundary where the highway becomes Forest Road 30 also known as the Wind River Hwy. Continue north passing the fish hatchery where the road splits. To go to the Trapper Creek Trailhead stay straight on Forest Road 3065, cross the Wind River and take the next right. In 0.3 miles you'll be at the Trapper Creek Trailhead the start of Observation Trail 132, Trapper Creek 192 and Big Hollow 158.

To get to the Observation Peak Trailhead (the shorter northern approach), continue on the Wind River Hwy about 2 more miles past the split. Look for Forest Road 64 on your left. Follow paved road 64 as it climbs past the Big Hollow Trailhead and turns to gravel after about 4.5 miles.

Continue about 1.2 miles on 64, then veer left on Forest Road 58. Follow 58 for 2.0 miles to the Observation Peak Trailhead. Along the way pass several spur roads that are slightly less maintained (more brushy) than 58. The upper reaches of road 58 have pot holes, but is not too bad for most cars.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass

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Observation Peak

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