Red Top Lookout (Jun 1, 2018)

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red_top_lo_coverConditions: day hike
Gear: nothing special
Map: USGS Mt Stuart, USGS Liberty
Area: Teanaway
Reference:
Stats: 7.74mi, 1243' gain (round trip)


It is hard to believe the last time I was out at this lookout was over 8 years ago...and on snow...from Mineral Springs Resort. Red Top is definitely much easier to do when the place is snow free. You can drive to within about 1/2 mile of the LO (parking just below it). I was out along Teanaway Ridge north of Red Top last weekend and was looking at the map and noticed that from the same "TH" Red Top is a really short hike. I'd never hiked north along the ridge from the LO and it looked like it would be a fun place to explore. The hike was short and didn't have a whole lot of gain which worked well for me since I planned to do the 70 mile Flying Wheels Ride with the Cascade Bike Club the next day. Dani was interested in joining. So...there was a plan.

We met in Bothell and then headed out of town...during rush hour. That was a bit of a minor mistake. I hate traffic on 405. It gets ugly.

We arrived at the "TH" (elev 4803') along Teanaway Ridge and it was cool out. The mosquitoes didn't seem as bad as last weekend. We headed south along the ridge. The first part of the "trail" follows and old road. It looks like high clearance cars are still using the road. It's not in horrible shape but high clearance is needed.

The ridge just north of Red Top is gorgeous. It's wide open in places and broad. Flowers were still out which was nice. Just before the LO we reached the rock area. I'd heard about this spot before...a place where rock hounds go and find all kinds of interesting rock specimens. We knew we were there because the ridge was pock marked with small dig sites all over the place. At the far end of the rock area there was a beat up old outhouse and a sign that mentioned a comfort station. I found that funny because the dilapidated outhouse looked anything but comfortable.

From the rock area the trail drops a bit before then heading steeply uphill, first in the trees and then along an open section of trail that switches back the steep exposed slopes right below the lookout. No room for error here. We arrived at the lookout and had the place to ourselves just a bit before other hikers showed up.

We stopped, had lunch, and then headed back towards the car. We did a bit more roaming along the roads past the far. It helped get the stats of the day into a more respectable range.

I much prefer this slightly longer hike up to the LO versus parking at the "regular" trailhead that is right below the lookout itself.
 
Red Top Lookout Slideshow

red_top_lo_map
(click on map to view a larger version)

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Copyright Janet M. Putz
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