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Pechuck Lookout Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Pechuck Lookout (bobcat)
Callippe fritillary (Speyeria callippe), Pechuck Lookout (bobcat)
Table Rock and Camp Creek valley from the Pechuck Lookout (bobcat)
Route of the Pechuck Lookout Hike (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: National Geographic Topo
  • Start point: Rooster Rock Road TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Pechuck Lookout
  • Hike type: In and out
  • Distance: 5.2 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1580 feet
  • High point: 4,338 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: Summer into fall
  • Family Friendly: Yes, for older children
  • Backpackable: Yes
  • Crowded: No



This hike leads steeply up to the long southern ridge of the Table Rock Wilderness and then runs southeast along the ridge to drop to a saddle, whence hikers take the short, steep path up to the unusual Pechuck Lookout. This two-story cupola-style lookout, maintained by the Bureau of Land Management and volunteers from the Friends of Pechuck, is on the National Historic Lookout Register. The site was first established as a lookout in 1918, with the current structure being erected in 1932. It is open for first-come first-serve overnight stays; reservations are not required. In 2020, the route of this hike was burned over by the Beachie Creek Fire.

When facing the trailhead signboard the Rooster Rock Trail starts up the hill behind you. (The trail is NOT the old decomissioned road to the left of the signboard.) The trail ascends into Douglas-fir, western hemlock, and vine maple woods. Switchback up through an understory of rhododendrons which bloom in late June/ early July. Reach an old jeep road bed and then leave it, still heading up. There are about ten switchbacks, some of them short Z-switchbacks. Make a traverse, switchback, and recross the old jeep trail. Wind up and switchback again. Finally, reach the High Ridge-Rooster Rock Trail Junction on the ridge crest. If you were to turn left, Rooster Rock is one mile down the trail. Turn right for the Pechuck Lookout.

Walk along at the level on the ridge among blooming rhododendrons and old snags. There's a clearcut below on the south slope, but to the left is the pristine western slope of the Camp Creek drainage. Silver fir, Douglas-fir, western hemlock and noble fir form the forest. The trail undulates along the ridge. Enter an area of forest burned in the 2020 Beachie Creek Fire. Here at the edge of the fire not all of the trees perished, and the undergrowth is coming back with a vengeance.

The trail descends, passing the Table Rock Wilderness boundary. Keep descending in secondary growth silver fir forest. Reach a road and the Pechuck Lookout Trailhead. After crossing the road, which is not open to public vehicles, head up, then down, and then rise again making seven switchbacks and passing a rock face above a borrow pit with a clear view of the Camp Creek Valley and Table Rock. You'll join the lookout road and pass the composting toilet on your right. There's a trail junction near the top. Going left leads down through the woods to a spring. Reach the cupola-style Pechuck Lookout at 4,338 feet. The 2020 wildfire reached the summit and burned some of the trees on the slopes, but the lookout miraculously survived. The views are largely obscured by trees, but through the gaps you may be able to see Mount Jefferson and the Three Sisters to the south, and Table Rock and Mount Hood to the north.

Note: In winter and spring, it is possible to hike to the lookout, and stay overnight, from the Old Bridge Trailhead, which is 2,000 feet lower than the Rooster Rock Road Trailhead. You will need to be prepared for snow (snowshoes are your best bet), and this hike will be over six miles one-way.

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Lookout can be rented


Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • One Night Wilderness: Portland by Douglas Lorain
  • Day Hikes in the Pacific Northwest by Don J. Scarmuzzi
  • 101 Hikes in the Majestic Mount Jefferson Region by Matt Reeder

More Links

Page Contributors

Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.