Accessing this trail is an adventure in and of itself, since you begin with a walk down overgrown FR 3610, which may have several washouts that require scrambling or fording. After this first exciting mile, you'll see the sign for the trail, still intact, despite the road being in poor shape.
From the trailhead proper, climb gradually through forest for one and a half miles. You'll soon reach wildflower meadows and a more merciful grade as the trail continues to climb, but this time with switchbacks.
Three miles from the trailhead (about 3.6 from your car), arrive at a junction. A left takes you back to Highway 12, 8 miles from here. You want to take the right trail, and ascend the ridge among ever more wildflowers.
Reenter the forest for a short time, and then arrive at the site of the former lookout. There's no longer a structure here, but the views remain. All around you are craggy peaks and dramatic panoramas. Mounts Rainier, Adams, and St. Helens are the most evident, but keep an eye out for Mount Aix and the Goat Rocks, as well as the Tatoosh Range. You may even see Mount Hood if it's a clear enough day.
- 8.2 miles, roundtrip
- Elevation Gain
- 2,600 feet
- Highest Point
- 5,442 feet
Hiking Purcell Lookout
Map & Directions
Co-ordinates: 46.5814, -121.8327 Open in Google Maps