Snowshoe to Squaw Mountain Fire Lookout

4.75 miles 1200 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Matthew Eaton

You'll catch amazing views at the peak sitting at 11,486 ft. There's no water or pets at this location, but there is an exterior composting toilet.

Come check out the Squaw Mountain Fire Lookout, a historic spot located in the Mount Evans Wilderness Area of Colorado, and one of the highest lookout towers in the country, at an elevation of 11,486 ft. Just a short drive from the Front Range corridor, you can hike/backpack in to this lookout area. The Civilian Conservation Corp constructed this lookout and it remains an active communication tower to this day.

To get there from Denver, head west on I-70, exit Evergreen Parkway, and drive south to the 4th stoplight, where you turn right onto Squaw Pass Road. The turnoff for Forest Road 192.1 is 12 miles from there. In the summer you can drive one mile up the road to the locked gate, but I prefer to hike from the main road, and in the winter this is your only option. Hike or snowshoe up the road for one mile to the locked gate. Bypass the gate and continue another mile to the Lookout Tower.

For added adventure year round, you can stay overnight inside the tower. Reservations are required and can be made ahead of time by visiting recreation.gov. Otherwise, there is no camping permitted at the lookout.

As this is an alpine hike, always be prepared for unexpected storms which occur frequently in the Rockies.

Read More

Tags

Chillin
Camping
Photography
Snowshoeing
Hiking
Scenic

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

🥈 Contributor

4 months ago

Short Historic Hike

The hike is short and I'd rate it as easy to moderate. No snowshoes needed as there wasn't enough snow when I did it, but I did use micro spikes after a nice couple at the trailhead told me it was icy in spots. I downgraded the hike because I couldn't go up to the fire lookout since it was occupied for the evening. Next time I'd like to go up at sunrise (when not in use) OR rent the fire lookout myself. I've always wanted to stay in one.

Quick Hike Is Worth The Views

We parked at the gate to shave off time in the afternoon in case a storm blew in. You hike up a road and it's a steady slope the whole way up. There is little sun cover from trees, but you are high enough for heat to not be too big of an issue. At the top, the wind was really blowing. The views are phenomenal and the lookout at the top looks a pretty nice place to stay for $80/night if you could have another 3 people pitch in to split it. Be aware that close to the turn off Squaw Pass Road there are a couple places that are frequently used for shooting practice.

Stay Nearby

Evergreen, Colorado

Echo Lake

Overview Echo Lake Campground is located on the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests in central Colorado near its namesake lake at the base of Mount Evans along Hwy 103. Visitors enjoy hiking, fi...

Central City, Colorado

Denver West / Central City Koa

Idaho Springs, Colorado

West Chicago Creek

Overview West Chicago Creek Campground sits along its namesake creek at the base of Mount Evans and is located off Highway 103 on the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests in central Colorado. It ...

Black Hawk, Colorado

Cold Springs

Overview Cold Springs Campground is located on the Arapaho Roosevelt National Forest, north of Blackhawk on the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway/Highway 119, in north central Colorado. Visitors enjoy the ...

Nearby Adventures

  • Hike Chief Mountain, CO

    Sitting at 11,709’, Chief Mountain is not one of Colorado’s highest peaks, but the views from this mountain are spectacular nonetheless and rival the views of any 14er I’ve climbed. This mountain sits along Squaw Pass Road so you get the luxury of...

    4 miles 1100 ft gain

  • Hike the Resthouse/Lincoln Lake Trail

    While the Mt. Evans Wilderness never has a shortage of visitors, thanks to its proximity to Denver, it is possible to find a more private hike if you know where to look. Lincoln Lake Trail, accessible from Echo Lake year-round, is not as glamorous...

  • Photograph Ancient Bristlecone Pines on Mt. Goliath

    On the way to the summit of Mt. Evans sits a small 160 acre preserve of some of the world's oldest living trees. The Mount Goliath Natural Area protects a rare site of Bristlecone Pines that make excellent photographic subjects.Immediately after p...

  • Private and Tranquil Retreat at Beaver Brook Watershed

    Note: This is NOT the Beaver Brook Trail in Genesee Park/Lookout Mountain! If you enjoy the scenery and ambiance of Evergreen, but Evergreen Lake has become too crowded for your tastes, Beaver Brook Watershed (owned by the City of Golden) is an ex...

  • Inspire Your Fall Aspen Trip!

    Autumn days in Aspen are filled with sunshine and nights with crisp cool air. Watch the mountains and valleys turn gold with the changing Aspen trees. Take in the scenery while enjoying scenic drives, hiking through forests, road biking, and exploring our IMBA Gold Level Ride Center recognized mountain bike trails. 




    Learn More