This is a nice, short hike to a recently repaired fire lookout. Guidebooks do not include recent upgrades to the trail and road to the trailhead. The lookout is no longer only accessible via a scramble, but a trail now switchbacks through wildflowers and interesting rock walls which was constructed in 2007. The lookout itself has been repaired, making it a nice lunch stop, but please keep in mind that it's only open if a Forest Service staffer or volunteer is present.
Hike less than a mile up a former logging road to a trail lined by large rocks. These steps create a shaded pathway that hikers can enjoy before making the short, but steep assault on Kelly Butte.
As you pause for breath on the steep climb, look around. Rocky columns dotted by splashes of color from wildflowers provide ample opportunity for photos. How many kinds of flowers can you identify on this short hike? You might be surprised by the number. Be sure to stop and harvest a few berries for a snack. In late summer, there are huckleberry patches just short of the summit.
Switchback again and again on your way to the summit, where you can see Mount Rainier if the day is clear. If not (or even if it is) be sure to gaze at the valley stretching below you, full of wildflowers, snaggy trees, and silvery waterways. Eventually the exposed switchbacks and steep grade give way to a slightly more gentle climb through light evergreens and bear grass before reaching the summit and lookout.
At the summit, enjoy lunch and the views. Be sure to take lots of photos, then head back down the way you came.
- 3.4 miles, roundtrip
- Elevation Gain
- 1100 feet
- Highest Point
- 5409 feet
Hiking Kelly Butte
Map & Directions
Co-ordinates: 47.1632, -121.4741 Open in Google Maps