Snowshoe to Squaw Mountain Fire Lookout

Colorado Squaw Mountain Trail - Winter Access

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.

Pack List

  • Food
  • Water
  • Layers appropriate to the season
  • Waste disposal
  • Sleeping bag and other camp equipment (no tent)
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Share

Activities:

Camping, Chillin, Hiking, Photography, Snowshoeing

Skill Level:

Beginner

Season:

Winter

Trail Type:

Out-and-Back

Distance:

4.75 Miles

Elev. Gain:

1200 Feet

Rating:

Features:

Scenic

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

5 months ago

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. Either note it if you don't shoot or possibly plan on some after hike shooting if that's more your speed.

5 months ago

Added by Matthew Eaton

Greetings! I am an outdoor lifestyle and adventure photographer based in Denver, Colorado. Loving life since 1983. I hope you find some of my adventures below helpful and inspiring!

More Adventures Nearby

Hike the Shanahan Ridge Trail

Colorado / Shanahan Ridge Trailhead

Starting on the edge of a neighborhood in South Boulder, this 3.8 mile loop begins its 869 foot elevation gain by meandering through a pine forest.

Hike the Arapaho Traverse

Colorado / Fourth of July Trailhead

Begin at the Fourth of July Trailhead.  Day parking is free and overnight parking is $5.  Fourth of July is a popular trailhead and to ensure parking, you should arrive early in the morning (6am-ish..

Ian Glass
12 Saves

Poudre Canyon Run

Colorado / Dadd Gulch Trailhead Parking

Stretching 126 miles from its source in the Rocky Mountain National Park, the Cache La Poudre (pronounced: Poo-ter) river provides host to an entire treasure trove of outdoor recreational activities.

Jason Leach
3 Saves