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Devils Head Lookout

Central Front Range, Colorado

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Devils Head Lookout

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  • The trail is mostly shaded by aspen and pine trees.- Devils Head Lookout
  • More aspens.- Devils Head Lookout
  • Looking up at the aspens on the trail.- Devils Head Lookout
  • The halfway point!- Devils Head Lookout
  • There are benches along the trail to stop and catch your breath.- Devils Head Lookout
  • Hiking to the Devils Head Lookout.- Devils Head Lookout
  • At the base of the granite outcroppings you'll find a small meadow, a cabin, and restrooms.- Devils Head Lookout
  • The Forest Service worker and his wife live in the cabin below the lookout.- Devils Head Lookout
  • The view of the lookout with Pike's Peak in the distance.- Devils Head Lookout
  • Amazing views from the Devils Head Fire Lookout.- Devils Head Lookout
  • Bill Ellis on duty and on a fire.- Devils Head Lookout
  • View from Devils Head Fire Lookout.- Devils Head Lookout
  • View from Devils Head Fire Lookout.- Devils Head Lookout
  • The view toward Denver from Devils Head Fire Lookout.- Devils Head Lookout
  • The lookout is full of history and certainly worth a look around.- Devils Head Lookout
  • More views.- Devils Head Lookout
  • View to the south from the lookout.- Devils Head Lookout
  • Devils Head Fire Lookout sits at 9,748 feet.- Devils Head Lookout
  • You'll need to climb 143 stairs to Devils Head Fire Lookout.- Devils Head Lookout
  • Devils Head Fire Lookout.- Devils Head Lookout
  • Devils Head Fire Lookout.- Devils Head Lookout
  • The famous 143 stairs.- Devils Head Lookout
  • The famous 143 stairs.- Devils Head Lookout
  • The famous 143 stairs and the lookout above.- Devils Head Lookout
  • - Devils Head Lookout
  • The downed trees at the beginning of the trail are due to a tornado that went through in 2015.- Devils Head Lookout
  • Devils Head Trailhead.- Devils Head Lookout
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Amazing views. Active lookout.
Cons: 
Steep trail. Often crowded.
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Region:
Central Front Range, CO
Congestion: 
High
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Day-Use/Parking Pass Required:
Not Required
Total Distance: 
2.80 mi (4.51 km)
Trailhead Elev.: 
8,758 ft (2,669 m)
Net Elev. Gain: 
950 ft (290 m)
Trail Uses:
Hiking
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Dogs allowed: 
Yes
Current Local Weather:
Powered by Dark Sky

Today

Light rain starting in the afternoon.
51°F
43°

Sat

Light rain in the afternoon and evening.
45°F
37°

Sun

Light rain until afternoon, starting again in the evening.
37°F
32°

Mon

Foggy in the morning.
49°F
35°

Tue

Partly cloudy overnight.
53°F
38°

Wed

Light rain starting in the afternoon, continuing until evening.
51°F
41°

Thu

Light rain until afternoon.
50°F
39°
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Team

The hike to Devils Head Fire Lookout is short and enticing, and it is certainly worth the effort to climb 950 feet and 143 steps in 1.4 miles. The steep trail takes visitors to the last active fire lookout of the seven original lookouts in the Front Range. The start of the hike takes you through a tree graveyard where a tornado left it's mark on the area in 2015.  You'll enjoy the shade from aspens and pines for most of the trail once you've passed the fallen trees. Along the way you'll find a few rest spots to catch your breath or take a photo break. As you near the granite outcropping that is home to the lookout you'll find a small cabin where the Forest Service employee who mans the lookout lives with his wife; you'll also find vault toilets should you need them. There is no water available, so be sure to pack plenty before leaving the car. 

At this point you'll make your way up the 143 stairs to the active lookout. If it's a busy summer weekend, you may find yourself waiting in line as only 10 people are allowed up at a time. The lookout is manned from mid-May through mid-September. At the time of writing, Bill Ellis and his wife had been manning the lookout for over 25 years. A chat with Mr. Ellis and the incredible 360-degree views from the top make the trip worth it. On a clear day you can see all the way to Longs Peak to the north and Pike's Peak to the south. This is the only active fire lookout in Colorado, and is over 100 years old. 

Be aware of the weather. This is one of the highest points in the area, and the Front Range is prone to lightening strikes that make this a potentially dangerous hike if the weather is bad. If you visit after a storm, you just may see the lookout in action as lighting strikes are one of the main causes of wildfires in Colorado. Also, Rampart Range Road is closed December 1 to about April 1 each year. You can call the South Platte Ranger District at 303.275.5610 for the current conditions. If you'd like to stay the night in the area, there a number of designated campsites along Rampart Range Road and a small campground at Devils Head Trailhead.

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Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(8 within a 30 mile radius)

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(36 within a 30 mile radius)

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