Everyone is looking for 360-degree views, and the Park Butte Lookout trail gives you precisely that. The scenery is superb, with Mt. Baker to the north, Puget Sound to the east, cascades to the west, and Rainier to the south! With stunning mountain views, the wildflowers should add an extra bright spot to your Park Bute lookout hike if you’re in the right season.
Overall, this isn’t too tough of a hike and one you can finish in the dark if you want to score some sunset views. The Park Butte trail is easy to follow and winds you through some simply gorgeous terrain before the final push to the top. Keep an eye out for it when you’re down below, as it’s wild to see it just hanging there on edge.
Related: See the top 22 hikes in Washington
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Hiking and Exploring around the Park Butte Lookout Trail
Quick Hiking Details for Park Butte Lookout Trail:
- Length: 7.2 miles
- Elevation Gain: 2,000 feet
- Difficulty: Mild
- Total Trail Time: 2-4 hours
- Distance from Seattle: 2 hours (the last bit is a dirt road but manageable for most cars, but go slow)
What to bring on the Park Butte Lookout trail
This is only a seven-mile hike with only 2k feet of elevation. So pack up those trail runners or boots, a light jacket, water, snacks, and a lookout beer for a great time.
- Trail Runners
- Sunshirt w/ hood
- Light Jacket for evening hikes
- Hiking Shorts or Pants
- Wool Socks to decrease blister risk
- Mid-size day pack
- Water filter if staying the night
- Wide Brimmed hat and Sunglasses
- Garmin Hiking watch
Get ready for fall hikes in Washington. Here are the best ones!
The Park Butte Lookout trail is a great spot to score photos if you’re into photography.
As you’re so close to Mt. Baker, a wide-angle lens is ideal, along with a telephoto, to get the peaks and layers in the distance. Just know the lookout is right on the edge of the National Wilderness area, so keep that in mind if you own a drone.
- Canon R5
- Canon RF 24-105 f/4
- Canon EF 16-35 f/2.8
- Canon EF 24-70 f/2.8
- Canon EF 70-200 f/2.8
- Tamron 150-600 f/5/6.3
- GoPro Hero9
- Peak Design Aluminum Tripod or Carbon Fiber Tripod
- Peak Design Clip
What to Expect Hiking the Park Butte Lookout Trail
Park Butte Lookout is a standard hike and trail with a gradual uphill trajectory. You’ll probably break a sweat, but there’s a chance you don’t either. If you are uneasier about drop-offs and heights, the top may give you a few shivers, but it’s nothing to worry about.
You cross over one stream that could be roaring during snowmelt, but there’s a metal bridge you walk on to cross.
I’d also imagine this is wildly crowded on the weekends. So plan to get there early or go later for sunset.
Sleeping at Park Butte Lookout
From what I understand, it’s a first-come, first-serve situation. If you’d like to sleep in the Park Butte Lookout, get there early, claim your spot, and then go adventure around the area. I couldn’t imagine a more incredible place to spend an evening than at a fire lookout.
It’s rugged yet protected, and all you’d have to do is pack a light backpacking load. If you plan on sleeping here, I’d bring your standard backpacking equipment minus the sleeping pad but make sure to either load up on water or get a filter/something to melt snow with.
What to bring backpacking Park Butte Lookout
- 15-30 degree sleeping bag
- Light, yet comfy sleeping pad
- 55L-65L backpacking bag
- Jet Boil Stove
- Water filter
- Hiking Poles
- Backpacking Meals
- 1x Hiking Pants, 1x Sunshirt, 1x Down Jacket, 1x Rain Jacket, 1x sleeping shirt, 1x leggings, 1x beanie and hat
Wrapping up – Park Butte Lookout Trail
You’re going to love the park butte lookout hike. It’s good for families, not too strenuous, and the views are gobsmacking beautiful. So this summer, make sure you find your way out to the PNW and do not miss the Park Butte Lookout trail!
Until next time adventurers, take care and be safe.
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