Loneman Lookout – 13.9mi / 22.3km
The aptly named Loneman Lookout is the least visited lookout, but not because it is a terrible place to visit. It’s an amazing lookout, but getting to it is an adventure involving a river crossing, high mileage, and substantial elevation gains.
After fording the river, find the trail that takes you to the South Boundary Trail. Once at the boundary trail junction, you will make a left, heading west into the trees and a creek crossing. From here, scattered meadows give way to open hillsides from a previous burn. After 1.2 miles on this trail, take a subtle, unsigned trail up the hillside. As the hill climbs for 5.4 miles, the views of the Nyack Flats and Middle Fork get increasingly better.
Unlike the neighboring lookouts, this trail rarely has views obscured by trees, which makes for great views all the way up. The trail wraps around Loneman Mountain with views down into the Harrison Lake valley, including the incredibly rugged peaks of Mt. Jackson as well as views in the Nyack drainage backdropped by impressive Mt. Stimson.
The Middle Fork crossing can be extremely dangerous, especially in the spring. Recommended crossing dates are mid August or later, depending upon snow-pack. If in doubt, do not cross.
Trailhead: Around mile marker 164 on US Highway 2, turn down the heavily used dirt road on the northeast side of the highway and follow it to the end. See the sign for fording instructions. The ford is found following the railroad tracks to the southeast.
Elevation Gain/Loss: 3,800ft / 1,140m