Lookout Mountain Loop via High Prairie Trail #493
This family friendly hike is very easy and enjoyable. The trail to the top is very smooth and gradual in elevation gain. The trail is very wide and is child friendly. The view from the top is incredible, you can see for miles. The top of Lookout Mountain is a large flat spot with an almost 360 degree view. There is the foundation of an old fire lookout as well as a fire pit. Stop, rest and enjoy the view of the Cascade Mt. Range, Three Sisters, Mt. St. Helens, and Mt. Rainier. The trail down is a bit more rocky and narrow but still easy and child friendly. On the way down make sure to keep and extra close eye on the younger hikers. The side of the trail drops off much steeper here with several areas near a large cliff. There will be signs along the way labeling the network of trails. This trail is labeled as High Prarie Trail. A few other trails are intertwined with this one. At the trail head is a pit toilet and a few parking spots that require a Northwest Forest Pass to park. A picnic table is there to enjoy as well. This is a hike and a view that you don’t want to miss. A very easy trail with a great reward! Even more enjoyable on a clear day.
Best access road is NF 44 to Lookout Mountain Road. Another option for those seeking a more scenic drive would be NF4420 also know as Bennett Road Pass. This trail is accesseable by 4x4 with moderate clearance, the trail is somewhat narrow with some ruts and rocks. Trail conditions may change with weather. The parking area is clearly labeled and you will see the pit toilet.The trail head is about 100 feet away from the parking area across Bennett Pass Road. The Trail is labeled as High Praire Trail.
This is a very good hike for children 8 and over. There a few areas where the trail gets close to some significant cliffs and drop offs. The downhill side of the trail has more views on the way down however is more technical and a bit rocky in parts. This could be bypassed by returning on the same trail as entered. Overall it is a very family friendly trail. On a scale of 1-10 10 being the best for children, this would be an 8