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Fire Lookouts & Fire Towers Trip Reports

Chapin Mesa at Mesa Verde National Park

Thursday & Friday, October 12-13, 2023

For the past year or so, Diane and I have been planning to spend an extended three-day weekend in southern Utah so we could watch the Annular Solar Eclipse that would be occurring on Saturday morning. A month or so back we found out that she would also have Thursday off from work, so I went ahead and grabbed two permits for the Square Tower House Tour at Mesa Verde National Park because it’s the only tour offered in the park this year that we had not been on before. Since we had such ...

The Rico Mountains & Lizard Head Trail

Friday – Sunday, September 22-24, 2023

Earlier this summer I had planned on spending another weekend hiking and exploring around the Rico Mountains and Lizard Head Wilderness, which are located at the western end of the San Juan Mountains. I’ve enjoyed heading down to this area over the past couple of years and was looking forward to returning again, but unfortunately on that trip I had started feeling ill and ended up coming home early on the first night. This weekend I wanted to give that trip another shot before the summer season comes to an end and I start ...

Wind River Country and the Absaroka Range

Encircling the Wind River Range: Rock Art of the Wind River & Bighorn Basin
Tuesday – Sunday, August 15-20, 2023

After spending the past three days on the Ruby – Horsethief section of the Colorado River it was time for our biennial return to the Wind River Range in Wyoming to begin. Ever since our first trip in 2017 to see the Great American Eclipse, we’ve made it our goal to try and return every other year, which so far we have been able to keep up. Although we have typically gone on a longer backpacking trip during each visit, ...

South San Juan Mountains from Elwood Pass

Friday – Monday, July 28 – 31, 2023

After spending the last two days around the Animas River Valley between Coal Bank Pass and Durango, I decided to spend the next couple of days further south and east in a distant part of the San Juan Mountains that I don’t get around to visiting very often. I’ve definitely been long overdue for another visit to the South San Juan Mountains between Wolf Creek Pass and the New Mexico state line and figured that this would be a good opportunity to get back since it wasn’t too much further away. After ...

The Sky Islands of the Chihuahuan Desert

Chiricahua National Monument to the Pedregosa Mountains and Dragoon Mountains
Arizona Winter Loop | Monday – Wednesday, January 30 – February 1, 2023

After a brief stopover in Petrified Forest National Park we continued south through Arizona on our way to the Sky Islands of the Chihuahuan Desert in the southeast corner of the state. A Sky Island is a mountain range that is separated from other mountain ranges by distance and by surrounding lowlands of a dramatically different environment. The result is a habitat island- such as a forest surrounded by desert. After leaving Holbrook we would cross the ...

Rabbit Ears Range: Parkview Mountain Fire Lookout

Fire Lookouts Extravaganza | Thursday, September 1, 2022

After visiting a couple Fire Lookouts in the morning, I made my way back to North Park in the afternoon via the Cache La Poudre River and Cameron Pass and then headed south over Willow Creek Pass. Just on the other side of the pass I drove up the switchbacks of an old mining road that joined up with the Continental Divide Trail on the southern flank of Parkview Mountain, which at 12,296 feet is the highest point in the Rabbit Ears Range. On top of Parkview Mountain is the final Fire ...

Fire Lookouts Extravaganza in the Rocky Mountains

Tuesday – Thursday, August 30 – September 1, 2022

Since I was going to be hiking in the Snowy Range while staying for two nights at the Spruce Mountain Fire Lookout Tower in the Medicine Bow Mountains of Wyoming, I thought it would be fun to spend some of my time visiting other Fire Lookouts and Towers that are still standing in the surrounding area. Below are a couple photos from each of the four other lookouts that I visited which include Jay’s Roost, Kennaday Peak Lookout, Blackhall Mountain Lookout and the Deadman Lookout Tower in Colorado. I haven’t really ...

Spruce Mountain Fire Lookout Tower

Fire Lookouts Extravaganza | Tuesday – Thursday, August 30 – September 1, 2022

After hiking to the Shadow Mountain Fire Lookout in the morning, it was time for me to head further north through North Park and into the Medicine Bow Mountains of Wyoming so I could spend the next two nights at the Spruce Mountain Fire Lookout Tower while exploring the surrounding area. Over the past couple of years I’ve been trying to visit more Fire Lookouts and Towers in the Rocky Mountains and have already spent a night in the Jersey Jim and Mestaa’ėhehe Mountain Lookout, so it ...

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 ...

Wetherill Mesa at Mesa Verde National Park

Sunday, May 22, 2022 | Alternate Plans: Back on the Four Corners Circuit

While making our original plans to Bandelier National Monument for this week, before they got cancelled, I had hoped that we would be able to stop by the Ute Mountain Tribal Park again on our way down to New Mexico. But even though we had to change those plans and stick around the Four Corners area, I was still hoping we would be able to go on another tour there. I spent the past two months trying to get ahold of someone at the park to schedule ...

Mestaa’Ėhehe Mountain Fire Lookout

Formerly the Squaw Mountain Fire Lookout | Saturday & Sunday, January 29-30, 2022

Over the past couple of years I have been trying to visit at least one new Fire Lookout each year, so I thought I would get an early start this year when I booked a night in the Squaw Mountain Fire Lookout near Idaho Springs this past October. This unique structure was constructed of native granite by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1940’s and is situated on top of Squaw Mountain at about 11,500 feet. The cab measures 14 X 14 feet, is completely lined by ...

San Mateo Mountain: Mount Taylor & La Mosca

The Four Sacred Mountains of the Navajo | La Cieneguilla Petroglyphs
Thursday & Friday, September 2-3, 2021

After climbing Humphreys Peak on Thursday morning and then leaving Arizona, I made my way into New Mexico so I could climb the highest peak in the state to complete the Four Corners state high points. But Wheeler Peak would have to wait one more day so I could take a short detour near Grants to hike to the summit of Mount Taylor, which is the Sacred Mountain of the South to the Navajo people (Diné). I’ve actually wanted to hike Mount Taylor ...

Elkhead Mountains: Hahns Peak Fire Lookout

Friday – Saturday, June 25-26, 2021

After spending a night in the Jersey Jim Fire Lookout Tower almost two years ago, I thought it would be interesting and fun to try visiting at least one new fire lookout each summer. Last year Diane and I hiked to the Fairview Peak Fire Lookout, which is the highest fire lookout in North America, so this year I decided to check out the Hahns Peak Fire Lookout in the Elkhead Mountains north of Steamboat Springs. There is some confusion as to whether Hahns Peak belongs to the Sierra Madre or the Elkhead Mountains, ...

Fairview Peak Fire Lookout: Highest in North America

Fossil Ridge Recreation Area & Cumberland Pass Peaks
Saturday & Sunday, August 8-9, 2020

This weekend Diane and I headed over to the Sawatch Range near Pitkin so we could visit the highest Fire Lookout in North America, which is located on the summit of Fairview Peak at 13,214 feet. Last summer I spent a night in the Jersey Jim Fire Lookout Tower and since then I’ve been interested in checking out more of the fire lookouts in Colorado. The highest one in North America sounded like the perfect place to start, especially since I could hike a new 13er ...

Jersey Jim Fire Lookout Tower

Overlooking the Four Corners | Sunday – Monday, July 21-22, 2019

After spending Saturday hiking to the summit of Centennial Peak and Sunday morning attempting to hike to the top of Hesperus Mountain it was time for me to head back into Mancos so I could pick up the keys to the Jersey Jim Fire Lookout Tower where I would be spending the night. I first laid eyes on the Jersey Jim back in 2010 when I was exploring a few roads near the La Plata Mountains on my way home from a week of adventure through the mountains of ...

Leon Peak

Mesa County High Point
Thursday, September 4, 2014

Since I had the day off from work I decided to go on a short hike close to home today. While I doubt I’ll ever try to complete all the county high points in Colorado, I thought it might be nice to at least climb the highest peak in Mesa County where I reside (and maybe a few of the surrounding counties, eventually). After a little research I found that Leon Peak on the Grand Mesa is the highest point in Mesa County at 11,236 feet and that it was a pretty ...