Photo: Sunrise over mountains and low morning fog east of High Rock Lookout.
This easy hike to a fire lookout attracts a crowd on a clear weekend. The view of Mt. Rainier is spectacular, and you can see Mt. Adams, Mt. St. Helens, and Mt. Hood if the visibility is high.
This was a perfect hike for Vicki's first backpacking trip. The trail climbs steadily up a ridge to the lookout, which is perched on a prow-shaped formation of bare rock. Parts of the rock are reported to have fallen off over the years.
Before sunset, fog rolled in and obscured Rainier off-and-on for an hour. After sunset, the full moon illuminated Rainier for a spectacularly clear view.
Built in 1929, the High Rock Lookout is maintained by volunteers. It will sleep six or eight on the floor. There is no wood stove at this one, and no water. A hiker shelter is located about 100' downslope, and there's a pit toilet.
Getting there: From near the Paradise entrance, drive Forest Road 8430 to the trailhead.
Stats: 1.6 miles to the lookout. Trailhead elev. 4285', lookout elev. 5686'. There is no water anyplace on this trail or at the lookout. No fires. There is a camping shelter about 100' below the lookout cabin.