With Ken Wilcox’s “Hiking Whatcom County” book as our guide, we set out for the north summit of Lookout Mountain. The trailhead begins off of Lake Louise road in Sudden Valley (Gate 9). Within the gravel service road’s first mile, you will come to a junction. Turn right for a pleasant waterfall loop trail (approximately 1.5 miles), or continue straight for the summit.
We cheated. Parking at the upper Lookout trailhead shaves off about a mile and a half of forest road tromping and gets you to the top that much quicker. “Unfortunately, driving to it can be a bit confusing” claim Forest Finders on Geocaching.com. We found the upper trailhead anyway and were thankful that we did. Confusing directions (and a geocache!) can be found here.
Wherever you choose to begin, the route is pretty straightforward: up. Lookout’s north summit is 2,677 feet – just one foot taller than the south summit. You will be climbing approximately 2,300 of those feet, so be prepared. This one’s bigger than Oyster Dome – though not nearly as steep. The road forks one mile from the lower trailhead at a level clearing. Stay left. The overgrown path leading up to the right is an alternate loop route which requires some navigational skill and bushwhacking. If you don’t have a map, compass, GPS, and machete, it may be best to avoid it.
In two more miles the road forks again, this time at some green boxes. Congratulations, you are ⅔ of the way to the top! Head right for the north summit or left for the south if you’re feeling a bit daring. The south summit reportedly does not have any views and is heavily forested. We went right.
On the way back down we seriously considered going up the restricted road. We didn't go, but I would advise you to because apparently there is a geocache up there AND a log bench with a fine vista view. Damn. Maybe next time…
For additional information on Lookout Mountain, including more photos and detailed directions, check out the following:
*The Open Road Before Me: