The Winchester Mountain Fire Lookout is located in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, along the Mount Baker Highway. This is one of the few remaining lookouts in Washington. Most of them were removed, but several are now maintained by local alpine clubs. The Mt Baker Club does a fantastic job of caring for and maintaining the Winchester lookout, you can donate to their efforts here.
During the summer the lookout is open to the public, you can day hike up and spend the day there, or if you’re inclined, you can spend the night. There are no reservations, its first come, you got it for the night. If you hike up and the lookout of already claimed for the night there is plenty of flat space nearby where you can pitch a tent.
I have hiked up and spent the night atop Winchester Mountain 5 times, three of those trips I slept in the lookout, and 2 times I camped in my tent. Basically, if you want to sleep in the lookout, go on the weekdays and go very early. And bring a tent or a bivvy sack just in case! Oh yes, and bring all your water, there is none there, nor along the hike.
The view from the lookout is unbelievable.
As you can imagine the night sky views are fantastic. To the south and east the darkness is almost complete. The western horizon is aglow in the direction of Vancouver to the north, Bellingham to the west and Skagit Valley south.
During the same night, a view of Mount Larrabee from Winchester.
Here is one more for good measure. Good luck and happy shooting! I may see yo there.
If you’re interested, Night Sky Photo Tours are available, you can find out more here.