Winchester Fire Lookout

winchester-lookout-inside-2Winchester Fire Lookout is one of the few remaining lookouts left in the North Cascades. Located near Twin Lakes, accessed along the Mount Baker Highway, the trail is less than 2 miles and about 1,300 ft elevation gain. The Winchester Lookout is maintained by the Mount Baker Club.

Last fall I visited for my first time, for an overnight stay to photograph the night sky. I loved it so much that I returned 10 days later for another evening enjoying the utterly breathtaking view.

This last week I ascended to Winchester Lookout twice, both times spending the night. fall-colors-from-winchester-mountain-4

The first trip was on a Thursday and we didn’t expect many people there for the night, but 10 other people joined me for the night. The plateau was dotted with tents set up among the remaining snow patches.

The sky was fantastic, the valley nestling Tomyhoi Lake filled with a rich gold syrup of orange light.

Walking to the other side of the lookout, Mount Shuksan and Mount Baker stand, calling. The clouds filling the valley between us migrated along, the entire rainbow of colors appearing as the sun set.

Winchester Fire Lookout

The second trip was scheduled specifically to capture night sky images, as a part of a Night Sky Photo Tour. The new moon was close and what better to serve as a foreground for the Milky Way than a wilderness fire lookout?

It was last Saturday, the sky forecast looked good and the new moon had arrived. This time we had the lookout and the nearby plateau, to ourselves for the night.

It’s such a pleasure to have a lookout to luxuriate in while admiring the surrounds. Sure beats looking out of the tent all night.



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