Thursday, September 5, 2013

Kelly Butte Trail and Lookout Tower

  I recently read about Kelly Butte Trail and Lookout (roughly 45 miles south/SE of Enumclaw,WA) from a trip report on the Washington Trails Association website, never hearing about this location prior to reading, The trip report indicated that staying at the lookout tower itself was possible as long as one were to bring a screwdriver to open the dormers. But, to not avail as the door was locked. As my brother and I were heading up on the trail, I struck up a conversation to a passing backpacker about the area. He was full of knowledge about the hike, locating a perfect place to place a tent, the lookout and surrounding area. He indicated that it was possible to stay in the Lookout if one was to contact the ranger's station in Enumclaw prior to a visit. We did not do this but I did bring my tent as backup.
  The views at the top were spectacular. 360 degree views of everything in site including nearby Mt. Rainier and the city lights of Seattle to the north as dark enters the evening sky. A beautiful night sky greeted us as the Milky Way and shooting stars were out in all of their glory. We stayed at the Lookout admiring the amazing beauty from sunset to darkness for a  good hour eating our meal and freeze-dried ice cream that was delicious. We eventually went back to the tent about a 100 yards from the Lookout nestled below the ridge about 30 feet which kept us out of the wind and left us nice and warm for the night.
  Not wanting to miss sunrise with views that were not meant to left by their lonesome, I arose early enough to make sure that I could get my brother up as well to see such a splendid beauty of colors over a bed of clouds that sat below the surrounding mountain tops. Breathtaking.
  A quick but great trip with my brother. I would recommend this trip to anyone, especially if time is limited and you want to get away from it all.

Kelly Butte (#1031)
South Cascades -- Chinook Pass - Enumclaw or Hwy 410 area                            
Roundtrip3.4 miles
Elevation Gain900 ft
Highest Point5409 ft

Driving Directions:   About two miles past Greenwater, turn left from Highway 410 onto paved Forest Road 70. All mileage readings are from this junction.
  At 8 miles, turn left onto a road signed 7030 and an arrow. There is about 10 feet of pavement, then gravel. This section of 7030 has some washboard driving surface.
  At 8.3 miles cross a bridge and pass some campsites.
  At 11.9 miles, come to a T and turn left, staying on unsigned 7030. (A right turn will take you toward Colhoquon and Pyramid Peak and PCT trailheads.) The rest of 7030 has a couple of steep sections and falling rock areas.
  At 12.4 miles go straight, not right and uphill.
  At 13.1 miles turn right. At this time there is a sign that indicates that the road to the right is 7030; the road straight ahead is signed 7032.
  Pass side roads at 13.6 and 14.1 miles.
  The rough road to the Kelly Butte “trailhead” is on your left at 14.4 miles from Highway 410