A hiker sits on the railing at Park Butte Lookout with Mt Baker behind him.

Hiking to Park Butte Lookout in the PNW

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

This post has affiliate links which cost you nothing but help support this free site.

Hiking and Exploring around the Park Butte Lookout Trail

Best hiking trail Park Butte Lookout Hike Washington
Park Butte Lookout Hike Washington

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)

Park Butte Lookout Hike Washington Park Butte Lookout Hike Washington Mt Baker Washington PNW hiking

What to bring on the Park Butte Lookout trail

Hiking Gear

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.

Get ready for fall hikes in Washington. Here are the best ones!

Camera Gear

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.

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.

Park Butte Lookout Hike Washington
Park Butte Lookout Hike Washington
Park Butte Lookout Hike Washington

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

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.

Complete Camping Guide

New to hiking? My guide will get you up to speed!

Follow my adventures on TikTokFacebook, and Instagram.

Are you an outdoors brand or tourism board and would like to work together? Please take a look at my photography portfolio here.