The first thing we noticed upon reaching Hat Point was the giant wooden fire lookout tower. The second thing we noticed is that there had recently been a fire in this area that seemed to burn every tree in the surrounding area while leaving said fire tower unscathed. Odd.
Charred tree near Hat Point tower.
Hat Point is situated on the rim of Hell's Canyon, at an elevation of approximately 7,000 feet. The Snake River flows through the valley of this canyon at an elevation of about 1,250 feet -- for a net difference of approximately 5,750 feet from the rim to the riverbed below.
The Snake River in Hell's Canyon
Much to our satisfaction, the lookout tower was open to visitors and we were allowed to climb almost all the way up to the top to take a look at the area from a much better vantage point than we could possibly get on the ground. I'm not particularly fond of heights, so the view off the ledge make me a bit nauseous. When I took the picture below, I was not looking through the camera's viewfinder. Even looking at the image now, I feel a bit queasy.
Being up this high afforded us some nice Panoramas, and gave a great view of the surrounding terrain. It's a lot of data to take in, but if you scan slowly, the view is really quite amazing. I would've loved to have been able to be here for Sunset, but alas... it was not to be.
180-degree Panorama, with center at North.
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