Road to iconic Washington state fire lookout finally set to reopen


An infamously rough road to an iconic fire lookout finally got cleaned up, and it's opening soon.

Pilchuck Road, also known as Forest Service Road 42, leads to the popular Mount Pilchuck trail and will reopen 10 a.m. Friday after closing last year for renovations, the U.S. Forest Service announced last week.

The road sustained damage from years of winter storms and heavy use, causing potholes and rough driving, according to a news release.

Forest Service spokesperson Jeff Clark said there's been "loads and loads" of complaints about the road over the years, so many it would be difficult to quantify. Some motorists have damaged their cars driving on it.

About $175,000 in federal funding from the Great American Outdoor Act was used to improve the road conditions. The act is aimed at remediating decaying infrastructure at U.S. national parks and public lands, according to a National Park Service webpage.

"This is a key improvement for a popular trail," Darrington District Ranger Camden Bruner, said in the release. "We appreciate the [public's] patience while road work occurred and are excited to have the road ready in time for summer."

Clark said the route has gotten minor Band-Aid fixes over the years due to a lack of funding. And while the road looks a lot better now, there are still concerns over future deterioration.

The worry stems from people speeding on the road, which could cause issues to reappear sooner rather than later.

"That's our main message to people: Slow down," Clark said. "I mean, it's still not a road that you want to be going really, really fast on."


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