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Shadow Mountain Fire Lookout

The Only Remaining Fire Lookout in Rocky Mountain National Park
Fire Lookouts Extravaganza | Monday & Tuesday, August 29-30, 2022

Earlier this year I managed to reserve two nights this week at the Spruce Mountain Fire Lookout in the Medicine Bow Mountains of Wyoming and thought it would be fun to make a longer trip out if it by trying to visit as many other Fire Lookouts in the same general area that I could. Since my first night at the Spruce Mountain Tower wasn’t until Tuesday, I thought it would make sense to stop and visit the Shadow Mountain Fire Lookout on the way there. Located near the small town of Grand Lake, the Shadow Mountain Fire Lookout was built in the 1930’s and is the only remaining Fire Lookout left within the boundaries of Rocky Mountain National Park. I left from work on Monday afternoon and followed the upper Colorado River to Grand Lake with a stop for gas in Kremmling.

When I reached Grand Lake I decided to check out the East Shore Trailhead before searching for a campsite so I would know where to go in the morning when it was dark out, and I was a little surprised to find that the parking lot was completely empty.

East Shore Trailhead

A view of Mount Craig as I headed back through Grand Lake.

Mount Craig

Next, I drove up the Stillwater Pass Road to find a campsite for the night. There were a lot of burned and dead trees in this area, which would be a common sight throughout the next few days.

Stillwater Pass Road

I found a place to camp below Little Gravel Mountain and had a nice view over towards Lake Granby.

View from Camp

Once the sun went down I got right to bed so I could get an early start on Tuesday morning.

Evening View

After a good night of sleep I was up early on Tuesday and hiking along the East Shore Trail at dawn.

East Shore Trail

Entering Rocky Mountain National Park

Entering Rocky Mountain National Park

Shortly before taking this photo of Shadow Mountain Lake I had to walk past a couple of moose that were near the shore and not too far off the trail. They were a little too close for comfort, so I made sure to keep moving quickly as I went past.

Shadow Mountain Lake

Soon the trail started to climb higher above the lake as I neared the junction with the Shadow Mountain Trail.

Shadow Mountain Lake View

The Shadow Mountain Trail started to climb more steeply into the trees on the way to the Lookout.

Shadow Mountain Trail

There were only a couple of views through the trees over the lake along the way.

Above the Lake

As I neared the end of the trail I finally got my first glimpse of the Shadow Mountain Fire Lookout.

Trail to the Lookout

Welcome to the Shadow Mountain Fire Lookout

Shadow Mountain Fire Lookout Sign

Here’s a view from the front of the Fire Lookout that is obscured by some smaller trees.

Front of the Lookout

Looking up the stairway, which is closed to entry.


Dangerous Conditions. There were plenty of these signs posted at the trailhead, along the trail, and around the Fire Lookout.

Dangerous Conditions

In my opinion, the best view of the Fire Tower was found on the top of an outcropping of rocks to the northwest.

Shadow Mountain Fire Lookout

Here’s a look at the back of the Fire Lookout.

Back of the Lookout

Window & Stone

Window & Stone

Shadow, 1939

Shadow, 1939

Shadow Mountain View

Shadow Mountain View

This was my last view of the Fire Lookout before I headed back down the trail and then returned to Grand Lake for an early lunch. Then it was off to the Spruce Mountain Fire Lookout in Wyoming!

Shadow Mountain Fire Lookout II

>> Shadow Mountain Fire Lookout Photo Gallery


  1. Tom McCoppin
    Tom McCoppin September 8, 2022

    Randy…thank you for sharing your travels. I enjoy reading your blog and look forward to each new post! Tom McCoppin

  2. Mike Miller
    Mike Miller September 8, 2022

    What a beautiful fire lookout. Great shots, and a cool experience!

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