Mount Hood National Forest
Active; Currently standing
Estimated drive time from Portland, OR.
June 5th, 2021
National Historic Lookout Register.
There are multiple ways to get to Flag Point Lookout via roads and trails. My partner and I had decided to disperse camp in the area for a night due to the proximity to Portland. We hadn’t planned on hiking this trail but knew we were close when we were looking for camp spots along FS-2720. We ended up reaching the end of the road and decided to hike to the lookout since we were already there. There is an un-marked connector trail that starts from the end of the road on the left side and meets up with Tygh Creek trail #460 in the Badger Creek Wilderness. You’ll follow this trail until you come to a fork where it continues up or down the ridge, you will want to continue up along the Tygh Creek trail #460. The trail leading down is the Tygh Creek Cut-Off trail #460A and will only take you farther into the wilderness. You could potentially do this as a loop using Little Badger Trail #469 from Tygh Creek Cut-Off Trail #460A . We did meet two people hiking out before we started that mentioned they had done this loop. They said there were still some patches of snow along Little Badger Trail #469 so we opted for an out and back. Eventually Tygh Creek trail #460 meets up with FS-200. You will have to road walk the remainder of the distance to get to the lookout. From FS-2720 to the lookout is about 2.5 miles one-way and gains 1,122 feet of elevation. It was a cold day with some stormy gusts of wind rolling through when we visited. We even had a rain and snow mix on the summit. Due to the weather we didn’t get the prominent view of Mount Hood that is visible from the summit. Be careful on your hike back down if you take this route. We completely missed the unmarked connector trail back to FS-2720 and ended up hiking along Tygh Creek Trail #460 for longer than we needed. Eventually we were able to find it after paying closer attention and back tracking a couple times.
The current lookout is an R-6 15’x15′ flat top style cab that was built in 1973. It is still actively staffed in the summer but was boarded up for the season when we were there. Flag Point Butte had two other lookouts on the summit before being replaced with the current one. The first lookout was built in 1924 as a 6’x6′ observation cabin on a 40′ tower. The fire lookout used to tent camp below since it wasn’t a live in cabin. In 1932 the observation cabin was replaced by a standard L-4 cab on a 30′ tower. The existing lookout used to be available for rentals in the winter but was removed from the register in 2016. They had trouble maintaining this in the winter conditions due to the remote location and vandalism.
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