High Rock

A short, moderately steep hike of 3.2 miles round trip and 1,350 feet elevation gain. Although the lookout is no longer staffed, it is one of the few remaining fire lookouts in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. The most prominent point along the Sawtooth Ridge, High Rock rewards you with spectacular panoramic views that include Mount Rainier and the Tatoosh Range peaks. This is also a popular sunrise hike.

getting there

From SR-7 in Elbe, turn east onto SR 706, both known as the National Park Highway, and drive 8 miles to Ashfors. Drive 2 miles more and turn right onto Kernahan Road. Drive 1.4 miles where it curves left and becomes Skate Creek Road, continue 3.3 miles, and turn onto Forest Road 84. Drive 6.8 miles. Bear left onto  Forest Road 8440 and drive 2.6 miles to  Towhead Gap (4,320 ft), where he road levels and is broad enough to park a dozen or more vehicles. Park here.

on the trail

The High Rock Trail is wide and well-marked. Hike it 1.6 miles and 1,350 feet to the High Rock Fire Lookout. The lookout is open for day use, but overnight use is prohibited.


  • Bring plenty of water, because there is none along the trail.
  • There are no restroom facilities are at the trailhead.
  • Depending on road and snow conditions, this hike may be doable year round.
  • There are drop-offs. Dogs must be kept on a leash and young children must be supervised at all times.
  • Suitable Activities: Day Hiking
  • Seasons: June, July, August, September, October
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
  • Length: 3.2 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 1,350 ft
  • 5,685 ft
  • Land Manager: Gifford Pinchot National Forest
    Cowlitz Valley Ranger District (GPNF)
  • Parking Permit Required: None
  • Recommended Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Route/Place Capacity: 12
  • Green Trails Randle No. 301
Trip Reports

This is a list of titles that represent the variations of trips you can take at this route/place. This includes side trips, extensions and peak combinations. Not seeing a title that fits your trip? Log in and send us updates, images, or resources.

  • High Rock Lookout
  • High Rock Fire Lookout

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