Best Hikes with Kids: Western Washington & the Cascades
by Joan Burton (The Mountaineers Books)
© Joan Burton/The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.
Trail to the lookout itself is quite short, but rather treacherous for kids (and adults who were told it is a good children's hike) at least in late summer with dry conditions. Very steep stretches with loose material causing easy slips and falls. Good hiking shoes/boots a must. The trail to the rock digging area is much easier, less treacherous and fine for kids with adult supervision in a couple steep slope areas.
The road in is very long, on a dirt road that is washed out twice. The trail itself to the lookout is not even a mile to the top. The first third of the trail is easy and very pretty. The last 2/3's is rediculously steep and trecherous with loose dirt and rocks. We had to hike on our tip toes just to keep moving. Absolutely not appropriate for children under 8, with drop offs and cliffs at the top. Otherwise, typically beautiful lookout views, worth the trip.
This trail requires good hiking shoes. There are some loose rock areas with steep slop of cumbling rocks, however if you are stable on your feet and take it slow in these two small parts of the trail you will do just fine. My family and I have visited several times and have completely enjoyed it every time. We have gone looking for Geodes, Crystals and Agets. We have found all of those to one degree or another. There are areas of dug out spots all over the trail, proper rock hounding, but we cover our holes when we leave and a few more too help out. The trail goes on and on, however we only go as far as the sign that is for hikers coming from the other direction. it is just past the last feild like opening in the trees of which there are 3. Make sure that you bring a shovel, 1/4 inch screen and lots of water and a snack. You will get hungry and it is hot up there when you visit in the sunny months. The ground is pebbled with lots of crystals and so you will not go away empty handed. If it is geodes you are looking for you will need to do some digging and understand that the red dirt stains clothing just like the red dirt in Hawaii, if you have been there you know what I mean. STAIN! We took our mountain bikes the last time we went and had to walk them accoss the loose rock and up some very steep parts of the trail, but we found it to be a great amount of fun. Do remember, also, that something are not as they seem at first and are covered with globs of dirt, so you may want to pocket things that look like clumbs of dirt to later find out it is very shinnty underneath.
The hike isn't too dificult. Some points have a bit of lose rock. It's a fire lookout, so you have a completely unobstrcuted view 360 degrees around from the top. There's also a small camping area near the trailhead. Be careful of high winds at the top.
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