We stayed at the Bald Knob Lookout August 4th and 5th of 2011. It was a long drive from our home in Sumner, Washington and felt even longer when we encountered the last leg of our trip, a gravel USFS road to the lookout that was strewn with the remnants of trees from logging. For some reason, I thought the road would be paved and our little Prius would be fine. But, I was mistaken, and the last five miles of our road trip were the most difficult. But, thanks to the expert driving skills of my husband, we managed the gravel gauntlet and made it to the top.
When we got to the lookout we were not disappointed. The cabin is about 16' by 16' and has a catwalk that goes all around. It was equipped with a propane stove, refrigerator, a double futon, a twin bed, and propane lights. I tried desperately to get my airbed up, but you would really need a rope to hoist it over the rail, as the corners are too tight to get a blown up mattress around. There is also a fire pit, a flag pole, and a picnic table. There is a vault toilet about 100 feet from the building.
Our first night was rather chilly, but we survived since we were all snuggled up together, two to each bed.
The morning greeted us with views like I have never seen before. I awoke to a sea of clouds with little mountain islands poking through. The clouds from the ocean were moving from Eden Valley, which lies on one side of the lookout, to the Rouge River Valley, which is on the other. As the day progressed, the clouds cleared out and the Valleys below appeared.
The sunset was another beautiful wonder. Pictures to follow.
The night sky was also amazing. I don't know if there was a meteor shower while we were there or what, but I saw several shooting stars in the middle of the night. You can literally just open your eyes in bed, gaze out the windows, and watch the night sky.
I should state that we are not a family that camps much at all. We love hiking and the outdoors, but we always manage to stay in a nice hotel near the sites that we want to explore. We also have two teens that are used to having T.V. and Wi-fi, but I will say we were amazed. It is like the serenity of our surroundings enveloped us. We enjoyed things like putting together a puzzle, roasting marshmallows, watching the sunset, and marveling at cloud formations. If you want a good family bonding experience where you can enjoy beautiful views and total serenity, Bald Knob Lookout is for you.
P.S. The place is surrounded by Rhododendrons as is the forest nearby. It would be amazing in late May or June when they are in full bloom.