Lookout Mountain Hike and Flag Point Lookout Snowmobile Ride

I finally got my snowmobile put back together and just in time for the weekend. It looks brand new again and runs great. Katie and I decided to spend Sunday before the Super Bowl exploring the area around Little John Sno-Park. It's located about 26 miles South of Hood River, Oregon off hwy 35 on the East side of Mt Hood. It is a lower elevation sno-park, so the conditions are not generally as favorable as some of the more popular sno-parks around Mt Hood. Our plan was to ride about 9 miles to the base of Lookout Mountain, hike 1.1 miles to the summit, then continue riding to Flag Point Lookout another 9 miles down the road.

We arrived at Little John Sno-Park just after 9 AM to a mostly empty parking lot and very little snow. There were a few vehicles that appeared to have been left overnight and one other vehicle also planning to snowmobile. The weather was mostly sunny with a temperature around 30°F. We unloaded our snowmobiles and set off over spotty snow and dirt toward FS road 44. The snow was icy and thin until we climbed a couple thousand feet higher. By the time we reached High Prairie there was 3-4 feet of snow.

Little Snow for Snowmobiling Near Little John Sno-Park     Lots of Snow Higher near Lookout Mountain

We parked our snowmobiles near the trailhead to Lookout Mountain since it is located within the Badger Creek Wilderness which is closed to all motorized vehicles (up to $5,000 fine and 6 months in jail). As we started hiking, we noticed not everyone respects the wilderness boundary. The High Prairie Trail #493 up to Lookout Mountain used to be a road before it was designated wilderness. One plus to the snowmobile tracks is it made route-finding and walking much easier.

High Prairie Trail to Lookout Mountain     Illegal Snowmobile Tracks Inside the Badger Creek Wilderness Boundary

As we continued to climb (more than 500' total elevation gain over 1.1 miles) we began to see many of the Cascade volcanoes to the North and South. We ended up seeing 8 in all: Mt Rainier, Mt Adams, Mt Saint Helens, Mt Hood, Mt Jefferson, Mt Washington, Three Sisters, & Broken Top.

Beautiful Day Hiking Up Lookout Mountain     Katie with Mt Saint Helens, Rainier, and Adams in the Background
Mt Hood from just Below Summit of Lookout Mountain     Cascade Volcanoes (from left to right: Broken Top, Three Sisters, Mt Washington, Mt Jefferson)

Our short route to the top of Lookout Mountain started off gradually gaining elevation and steepened as we neared the summit.

Katie Near the Summit of Lookout Mountain     Looking Towards the True Summit of Lookout Mountain
Mt Hood     Katie with Mt Jefferson in the Background

High clouds were rolling in as we approached the true summit. The wind also started to pick up. The snow was firm, but icy in spots. There was another set of footprints visible, but besides that we were completely alone.

Getting Closer to the True Summit of Lookout Mountain     Jason and Katie

Once on the summit, the wind was really howling. I took a few pictures and contemplated how much different it looked since the last time I was here during bad weather. The views were amazing atop Lookout Mountain.

Looking Towards Mt Jefferson from the the Summit of Lookout Mountain     Mt Saint Helens, Mt Rainier, and Mt Adams

After a few minutes on the summit we quickly headed back down into the shelter of the trees where we enjoyed lunch before hiking back to our snowmobiles.

Mt Hood     Frozen Badger Lake

From Lookout Mountain we snowmobiled about 9 miles (at times on spotty snow and dirt) to Flag Point where a forest service lookout tower still stands. It is reservable in the wintertime, but no one was there when we arrived. It is a similar lookout to the one at Clear Lake where we have stayed before, but not in as good shape.

Flag Point Lookout Tower     Dilapidated Outhouse

The views from the Flag Point lookout however are better than at Clear Lake in my opinion. We could see many mountains and for miles in every direction.

Inside the Lookout Tower     Inside the Lookout Tower
Inside the Lookout Tower     Mt Hood from Inside Flag Point Lookout Tower

While we were up in the lookout tower we heard another snowmobiler down below. We waved him up and chatted for awhile while enjoying the views from the catwalk outside the cabin.

Mt Jefferson     Mt Rainier and Mt Adams

We bid farewell to the other snowmobiler and headed back toward Little John Sno-Park. We were hoping to get home it time to watch the second half of the Super Bowl. We stopped for one last look at Mt Hood before arriving back at Little John where there were several families enjoying the sledding hill.

One Last Look at Mt Hood

What a fantastic day. The weather was great and my recently repaired snowmobile ran flawlessly. The snow was not awesome, but everything else made up for it. Next up is the Candlelighters Family Snow Day next Saturday. Katie and I will be helping out and providing snowmobile rides. It should be a great time and the weather forecast is even looking good.

Gear List

'02 Polaris 500 RMK Snowmobiles
Osprey Variant 37 Pack
Deuter Futura 32 Pack
GMAX GM76X Helmet
GMAX GM54S Helmet
Smith Phenom Turbo Fan Rx Goggles
Columbia Men’s Bugaboot Max Electric Boots
Merrell Women's Whiteout 8 Winter Boots
Kahtoola MICROspikes®
Hillsound Trail Crampons
Columbia Ski Pants
Columbia Titanium Hightail II Softshell Jacket
Columbia Ultrachange Parka Shell
Columbia Powerfly Down Puff Jacket
Columbia Sportswear Women's Alpine Alliance Parka
Head Digital Sport Liner Gloves
Outdoor Research Ambit Gloves
Columbia Men's Fast Trek Fleece Hat
Petzl TIKKA XP 2 Headlamp
HighGear ATF8 Altimeter
Olympus Tough TG-1 Camera
Lifeline Aluminum Sport Utility Snow Shovel
First Aid Kit
iPhone w/NeoTreksGPS
Suunto A-10 Compass

Post new comment

Disclaimer: You are responsible for informing yourself of the hazards of backcountry travel and taking the necessary precautions. Loomis Adventures may not be held liable.