Watch Mountain Lookout
US 552, WA 53

Lookout Details

Registry Numbers US 552, WA 53 (view other lookouts in United States, Washington)
Date Registered February 12, 2004
Location Gifford Pinchot National Forest
Lewis County, Washington
Coordinates N 46° 34.180' W 121° 57.630' (view using Google Maps)
N 46° 34' 11" W 121° 57' 38"
N 46.569670° W 121.960500°
Elevation 4,595 ft (1,401 m)
Administered by U.S. Forest Service
Cooperators Cowlitz Valley Ranger District


There have been a number of lookouts above the north side of the Cowlitz valley in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, but only one remains. The first lookout at Watch Mountain built by the state to protect private land was an L-4 cab. In 1940 a cabin was added. The present 14’x14 DNR flattop cab with catwalk was built on the western end of the ridge in 1963. Used primarily as an electronic facility, the land has been acquired by the Forest Service.


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Visit Reports

July 24, 2003: Dominic Luebbers


Needs paint? No Response
Shutters OK? Yes
Condition of wood OK? Yes
Stairs OK? Yes
Glass intact? No Response
Good condition? Yes
Comments: The building seemed to have been painted somewhat recently and looked okay, the shutters were secured, with the stairs and catwalk looking good. The LO looked good in some ways and not so good in others, see below. Some maintenance did seem to have been done recently. I don't know about the glass as the shutters were closed and the inside was covered with panel type insulation.

Electronics and Enroachments

Are electronic sites enroaching on tower? Yes
Comments: The outside of the LO including the catwalk and roof is covered with solar panels and antennas. The interior is stripped of any LO items with the exception of a small shelf. It now holds repeater cabinets, deep cycle batteries and charge controllers. Due to the remoteness of the area nothing was locked.
Other enroachments? Besides the electronic encroachments the view was good with no other encroachments. A repeater building (likely FS) and a second structure of unknown use also sit on the summit but are not bothersome.

Access and Signs

NHLR sign posted? No
Directions to tower signed? No
Comments? No signs pointed to the LO. I had to walk around 6 miles past 3 locked gates to get to it. Some of this was through privet land, others on FS land. I think access would be easier to the public if going to Watch Lake. I first tried this way but the road has not been maintained and it became too rough. Instead I walked up a fairly good road from the highway.


Staffed? No
I don't think staffing ever occurs with the possibility of an emergency and using a map and compass on the catwalk.

Opportunities for Volunteer Support

Volunteers staffing opportunities? No Response
Volunteer maintenance opportunities? Yes
Any real staffing is unlikely unless the electronic equipment is moved and the LO restored to its original purpose. Maintenance might be possible however might not be needed. In this unique situation it seems the agencies who own the equipment take care of the LO so that it continues to house their items. It is likely that this use saved the tower from being removed long ago.