If the access road were paved, Winchester Mountain would likely be one of the most popular hikes in the North Cascades: The trail begins between a pair of stunning, mile-high sub-alpine lakes. It switchbacks through blueberry-bursting meadows, past a permanent snowfield to a restored historic lookout in just 1.6 miles. The views are stupendous. However, the road is not paved. It's one of the roughest unmaintained gravel roads in the area. If you don't have a four-wheel drive vehicle, park at the Yellow Aster Butte Trailhead and walk the remaining 2.5 miles to Twin Lakes.
Those willing to brave the rough road will be rewarded by some stunning scenery. Begin at the trailhead between Twin Lakes and climb a quarter mile to the High Pass junction. Stay left for Winchester Mountain Lookout. Switchback up the mostly open mountainside, looking down on the Twin Lakes and your car parked between them. Goat Mountain's twin peaks are visible to the south; Mount Shuksan rises behind them.
You'll reach the top in no time. Peek inside the lookout, built in 1935 and maintained by the Mount Baker Club. If no one has claimed it for the night, the lookout is all yours. Outside, views of mounts Baker, Shuksan, Larrabee, and many more surround you.