What used to be expansive views from a lookout are heavily obscured by half a century of tree growth. But there are still views to be had from the trail and near the top, as long as you use careful footing. Just don’t plan on a quiet hike. On weekends the air is filled with the sound of motorcycles and target practice. Even on summer weekdays, folks will be out riding and shooting.
At the end of the road (elevation 4540 feet), the trail starts with an immediate switchback, followed by many more as it climbs and traverses for a half-mile through the mature forest with little understory to the southeast ridge crest, at elevation 5070 feet. Along the way, a side trail leads to distant views to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.
At the ridge crest, the trail to the right (southwest) leads to an open, narrow ridge with views to the southeast across the Greenwater River valley from Pyramid Peak in the east to the Norse Peak Wilderness in the south, with the visible effects of the 2017 Norse Peak Fire.
Take the trail to the left at the ridge crest and follow the main trail for 0.1 mile to the lookout site, passing social trails on the right to viewpoints. At the top of Colquhoun Peak, capping out at elevation 5173 feet, is the flat lookout foundation with a wooden post and few artifacts.
The Colquhoun Lookout was a 14-foot x 14-foot single room cabin, built in the 1930’s and removed (destroyed) in 1958. In the subsequent years, too many souvenir hunters have removed the artifacts. All that remains are a few nails, melted glass, and a can.
Around the site, the trees have grown and there’s only an obscured view of Mount Rainier to the southwest. But a 120-degree panorama that includes Mount Rainier can be seen from a point at the top of a steep rocky area. It is about 50 vertical feet down to the southeast from the lookout site and can also be reached by some of the social trails, passed in the last 0.1 mile. Be extremely careful if seeking a photo from here. The sheer cliff poses a real falling hazard.
While this hike is listed as good for kids, staying on the trail is important. A significant slip or fall from the viewpoint at the top of the steep rocky area is probably fatal.
WTA Pro Tip: It's possible to extend your hike slightly by hiking up the narrow dozer road. This adds 0.6 mile each way and an additional 300 feet of elevation gain.