Monday, May 20, 2013

Devils Head

Hiking the Devils Head Lookout Tower
Elevationa: 2971 m / 9748 ft
Front Range, Colorado
Datum: May 19, 2013

Devil’s Head Lookout Tower celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2012 and is one of the best-known and only remaining Forest Service fire lookouts in continuous operation in Colorado. The tower initially consisted of a table and fire-finder bolted to a rock, and was accessible only by ladder! It is perched high on a rock outcrop with multiple flights of stairs leading to the cab. Devil’s Head employed the first female fire lookout in the nation — Helen Dowe, who started in 1919. In 1991, the site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The lookout offers spectacular views and is a popular destination for visitors, with approximately 15,000+ recreation visits annually. Click here for more historical tidbits and photos and here for a 2011 Denver Post article on the tower.
See map here.

This spectacular viewpoint provides a commanding panorama from Pikes Peak to Mount Evans from a historic fire lookout tower built in 1912. The first woman fire lookout ranger in the U.S. Forest Service, Helen Dowe worked there from 1919 to 1921, and reported 16 fires in her first year alone. The tower was in a state of disrepair, until it was reconstructed in 1951 with the help of 100 men and 72 mules. 

Devil’s Head is the last remaining Front Range lookout tower and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The challenge is getting to the trailhead over the very rough, gravel Rampart Range Road. It doesn’t require four-wheel-drive, except during downpours, but you’ll need good shock absorbers and sound teeth for the sections of deep washboard. There is a campground that makes the long round-trip drive unnecessary. Rampart Range Road is an off-road vehicle mecca with trails paralleling almost the entire length of the road; so keep that in mind when you consider visiting; love ’em or leave ’em, you cannot avoid them.

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