North Mountain Lookout by Jumbo Mountain via Darrington / 北山

  • Reading time:7 mins read

North Mountain by Jumbo Mountain overlooks the Stillaguamish River in Darrington, Washington. At the east foothills flows the 45-mile-long Sauk River. Meanwhile, a 41-bike trail system covers the mountain’s southwest flank, totaling 37 miles.

North Mountain Lookout
North Mountain Lookout

See more trip photos here.

North Mountain at a Glance

Access: NF-2810 via North Mountain Road (trail map)
Round Trip: 8.1 miles
Elevation Range: 1500′-3840′
Essential Gear: microspikes
Route Info: Claire Jaja
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: yes
Playlist: Keep Moving

Exploring New Trails in Darrington, Washington

We hadn’t been here despite visiting neighboring Round Mountain over the years. I recently learned about the well-known bike trail network while researching climbs in the area. So, I knew starting the trip early would be a good idea to avoid the bikers.

At the top stands one of the 93 known lookout towers[1] in the state, built in 1966 and active through the 1980s[2]. It was closed to the public for years before Friends of North Mountain led the reconstruction effort in 2015. It’s currently available for rental through Airbnb[3].

Locked gate a mile and a half before the lookout
Locked gate a mile and a half before the lookout

See more trip photos here.

Taking the Direct Route from the West

Several of the steep trails were one-way downhill and only opened to bikes. But since we were early, we followed the tracks of past hikers straight up Skyline and Jackpot. It was only a 1.5-mile walk from the locked gate through inches of snow to the lookout tower.

The views were surprisingly better than expected, even though we could only access the area below the platform. The near panorama offered glimpses of Whitehorse Mountain, Mount Higgins, and many others. We stayed for 45 minutes before leaving for the south summit.

West-to-north panorama from the fire lookout
West-to-north panorama from the fire lookout

See more trip photos here.

Walking the South Ridge to North Mountain High Point

The ridge trail hugged west of the crest, and we soon reached the forested south summit in half a mile. The nearby outcrops offered expansive views over the Suiattle River Valley. Despite the trees, White Chuck Mountain, Mount Pugh, and Sloan Peak were the main attractions.

Back at the gate, we walked down the road as Mount Baker loomed atop Stillaguamigh River’s headwaters. Whitehorse Mountain and Mount Higgins sights were at every turn in the open. Soon, we took the lower trail back to the car after seeing the only biker of the day.

East-to-south panorama from North Mountain's high point
East-to-south panorama from North Mountain’s high point

See more trip photos here.

  1. Courtesy of Craig Willis and Eric Noel. ↩︎
  2. From “North Mountain Fire Lookout” on ↩︎
  3. From “A Lookout Restored” on ↩︎

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