Lookout and Trail Maintenance • Three Fingers Lookout
Description: A lookout restored by the Everett Branch of
the Mountaineers is on the southern summit (6,850') of Three Fingers.
Directions: From Everett, take US Hwy 2 east toward Lake Stevens. Go north on US Hwy 9 at Frontier Village and then right (east) on Hwy 92 toward Granite Falls. At the east end of Granite Falls find the Mountain Loop Highway (MLH). Go left and drive to milepost 7 at the top of the hill. FS Road 41 is on the left. Three roads leave MLH at this point, but two are private. FS41 is the eastmost of the three. The sign for FS41 is about 100 feet down the road. Stay left as you pass several roads. Turn right onto FS4160. At about 17.5 miles there will be a trailhead signed Goat Flats, elevation 2,800'. (WTA)
Route: The maintained trail ends at Tin Can Gap. After
that a cross-country scrambling route continues to the Lookout.
This portion of the route requires ice-axe and other scrambling
skills. The final portion of the route is very airy and one gains
the lookout by a series of ladders that feel like they will shake
loose and fall onto the Queest-Alb Glacier several hundred feet
below. If you are lucky, your body will not fall into the crevasses
in the glacier.
Reference: cf. Goat Flats in 100 Hikes in the Glacier
Peak Region, Ira Spring & Harvey Manning, The Mountaineers
Press, p. 86, 1988.
Maps: A progression of USGS and USFS maps show the historical
development around the lookout. Colors have been used to highlight
select, man-made features of interest. Blue = items spanning the
years. Lime green = items missing in later years. Red = items appearing
in later years. Brown = trails or railroads that become roads (after
a fashion). The coloring is by no means comprehensive. By some
bizarre coincidence the old and new Forest Service maps were at
the same scale and thus could be superimposed to create a composite.
A composite of USFS Mt.Baker-Snoqualamie National Forest maps,
1962 and 1989.
The USGS Stilaguamish, 30', 1899 map does
not show any lookouts (Mt. Pilchuck, Three Fingers, Higgins, or
French Creek) and the only trail near Three Fingers goes to Windy
Pass. Note the older spelling of Stillaguamish. The Northern
Pacific Railroad, Monte Cristo spur can be seen in the valley.
There is no road up the South Fork of the Stillaguamish. There
is at least one more long abandoned trail shown on the map. Are
The USGS Stillaguamish, 30', 1946 map is
not much different than the 1899 map. There is no lookout.
The USGS Silverton, 15', 1957 map shows
the Three Fingers Lookout but no trail! Gone is the railroad and
the Mountain Loop Highway runs up the South Fork of the Stillaguamish.
Logging roads appear to the south of the river. The trails up Wiley
Creek and Eldred Creek may not currently exist. The trail running
south from Sunnyside Camp may now be a road. The other trails appear
to exist today but some have been shortened by roads.
The USGS Whitehorse and Meadow Mountain, 7.5', 1989 maps were
combined to show the trail-route to Three Fingers. Past the maintained
trail (solid line), dashed lines represent the very approximate
route to the Lookout based on eight-year old memory. Send your
latest GPS tracking map to the webmaster.
History: First article in Newsletter
on repair efforts appeared September, 1986.
Images: Three Fingers photo collection #1 and collection #2 .
Activity: LOTM does yearly maintenance on the Lookout.