Waldo Mountain Lookout



Administrative agency:  Willamette NF
Staffing status: 
presently available for emergency use, and may receive use for other purposes? although having not been staffed full time for quite some time it was staffed for several months straight in 2001, further plans are unknown
1957 ground mounted R6 flat cab
coming in from the west requires the shortest amount of hiking, from Oakridge the road is paved most of the way, if I remember correctly it does reduce to one lane, the gravel road to the trailhead is signed with the FS road number, it is about 5 miles to the trailhead from the junction with the paved road, the trailhead is roadside so be careful not to pass it, parking is on either side of the road, at the trailhead a signboard gives instructions on which trail to take, the trail to the lookout is around 3.2 miles long, there is at least one junction that can be somewhat tricky, when you come to this if you take the correct trail you should eventually see a trail number sign, be careful as the junction is somewhat overgrown and easy to miss, along most of the trail notches have been carved in the trees as well although they are becoming overgrown, note this site is in the Waldo Lake Wilderness and all wilderness restrictions apply, you will need a NW Forest Pass to use the trailhead as well as a self issue wilderness permit which is provided at the trailhead free of charge, be sure to bring a map, the standard forest map is adequate
Road conditions: 
the paved road is in good condition, the gravel road may be a little rough in spots but overall is a good road, the trail starts our rather steep, and continues with a steady elevation gain, near the top it starts to level out, much of the trail is shaded making for a cool and moderate hike
the interior appears to be in excellent condition with natural woodwork, a woodstove, a bed, and shelves, another historic note the breeze box cooler opening is still present on the onside of the LO indicating it is still present and available for use
Other structures on summit: 
a houseless outhouse sits near the lookout, the area under the lookout is used to store firewood and the shutters
Electric power source: 
apparently none, not sure what the LO used when staffed, maybe a battery powered radio or photovoltaic system that is not present
this is an excellent tower to visit, and my favorite in the forest, the view of Waldo Lake is magnificent, surprisingly the lookout doesn't sit as high above the lake as might be thought, during my visit I saw sailboats floating on the lake, the view of the rest of the wilderness is great as well with many untouched trees as well as a view of an old burn area, Huckleberry Lookout is visible with binoculars, as well as the Three Sisters and other surrounding mountains, the building itself is in need of some paint mostly on the shutters but otherwise is in great condition, despite its wilderness location the ranger district has done a great job caring for this lookout
Dominic Luebbers August 2002



a view of the catwalk with Waldo Lake in the background


the lookout from one of the trails at the summit


Waldo Lake

The Diamond Peaks

The Three Sisters in the background

the view toward Huckleberry Mountain


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Email: dominic@forestlookout.com