Elevation: 6357 feet
Built: 1957, Flat Roof
Trail: Waldo Mountain Trail #3592 from Salmon Creek; access from North Waldo Campground is difficult because of length and changes in elevation
Staffing: currently seasonally staffed by Middle Fork Ranger District
The Waldo Mountain Trail #3592 from Salmon Creek is a long, gradually gaining hike through mostly heavy timber with a dearth of outlooks. Near the top it levels out through smaller sub-alpine type trees and bear grass, rewarding the hiker at the top with sweeping wilderness and lake vistas to the east. The Three Sisters stand out sharply to the northeast, and myriad smaller lakes are visible in the watersheds to the north and south. This is a spectacular closeup view of the Crest along its spine.
Waldo Mountain Lookout is maintained and staffed by Middle Fork Ranger District. It is an especially valuable observation post during the frequent lightning storms along the Crest. Though built in the 1950s, it is outfitted and furnished with original furniture and cabinetry, making it very authentic as well as comfortable.
If you choose to hike from North Waldo Campground, be very sure you have each trail number and junction clearly in mind, as it requires several judgment turns and some rather extreme changes in direction. It can be very confusing. In particular, if you continue along the western edge of the lake too far, past the outlet of the North Fork, you've missed your turn. Use a Forest trail map and observe the numbers closely. It can be done, in and out, in a day, but it will take all day.
At a Glance
Access the lookout from the Waldo Mountain Trail #3592 which starts at the Salmon Lakes - Waldo Mountain Trailhead.