As the name suggests, Little Mountain park resides atop a 934-foot high point located just outside the southeast city limits of Mount Vernon. Boasting fabulous views of the Skagit County farming community, the popular summit and picnic area can be accessed by a 1.5-mile road that winds up the east side of the mountain. Also, the park is an excellent place to immerse yourself in nature, with 8.7 miles of hiking and biking trails that run throughout the heavily forested hillsides.
With its convenient location and ease of access from the lowlands, Little Mountain has seen consistent use by humans over the past century. The Washington Division of Forestry (later the Department of Natural Resources) first became interested in the summit area in the early 1900s. A 100-foot fire lookout was erected before the military took over the location in 1942 during World War II. An aircraft-warning service cabin was then built, and lookout staff kept a constant watch for enemy aircraft nearing the Puget Sound. The structures were demolished by the DNR in 1980, and plans were set forth to begin establishing a park.
Today, Little Mountain has two main viewpoints on either side of the summit picnic area. From the covered south structure, you can gaze out to picturesque landscapes of the Skagit Valley, Olympic Mountains, and San Juan Islands. After a short walk down from the parking lot, a metal ramp extends over a small cliff to yield more outstanding views of Mount Baker, the North Cascade foothills, and the sprawling cities below.