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Columbia Mountain Lookout hike

Come take a hike on Columbia Mountain! Wander trails through high-country meadows flush with flowers. Gaze upon sweeping views of the Sherman Creek Valley. Visit an historic fire lookout cabin that has graced this Kettle Crest summit since 1914.

Columbia Mt. trail mapRound trip: 8 miles
Elevation gain: 1200 feet
Difficulty: (3/5) Moderate
Trailhead: Marked trail at Sherman Pass on SR 20, seventeen miles east of Republic

Wander trails through high-country meadows flush with flowers. Gaze upon sweeping views of the Sherman Creek Valley, the unbroken swaths of forest that cloak King Mountain and the Twin Sisters, and hillsides that are hopping with deer. Visit a historic fire lookout cabin that has graced this Kettle Crest summit since 1914.

From the large parking area on Sherman Pass, follow the Kettle Crest Trail north for two miles to the Columbia Mountain Loop Trail. Turn right and, after half a mile of climbing, come to another junction. Go right or left - doesn't matter; the two-mile loop just below the summit yields knockout views in every direction no matter what direction you march off in.

Be sure to take the half-mile marked spur to the 6780-foot summit of Columbia Mountain. Emerge on the broad open summit with its weather-beaten and element-defying lookout cabin, built during the Wilson administration. It would be fitting if this testament of the golden age of conservation could stand watch over a Kettle Mountain Wilderness.

© 2007. Text reprinted with permission of the publisher from Columbia Highlands: Exploring Washington’s Last Frontier by Craig Romano, The Mountaineers, Seattle.
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