Devil’s Head Lookout Tower
Preservation of the Devil’s Head Lookout Tower
Sponsored by the Colorado State Historic Fund and Pike-San Isabel National Forest
Project completed in August of 2013. A big thanks to our wonderful field staff and volunteer crew for making the project a huge success!
History: 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.
Scope of Work: This historical treasure was falling into disrepair and may have had to close to public access if action was not taken, but thankfully, the HistoriCorps team rehabilitated the lookout so it can continue to spot wildfires. Volunteers learned to:
- Evaluate and replace deteriorated structural wood features such as deck planking, railings, and stairs
- Restore doors and windows
- Reroof with cedar shingles
- Refinish all interior woodwork
Lodging and Directions: The lookout is situated atop a rock outcrop in the Rampart Range, easily visible from Interstate 25. Volunteers will be camping onsite, right at the base of the tower. The site is “backcountry” and is located approximately 1.5 miles from the trailhead. From Sedalia along US 85 south of Denver, take CO 67 west for 12 miles to Rampart Range Road. The intersection is well marked. Take Rampart Range Road 11 miles to the turnout for Devil’s Head Lookout and campground. Follow the signs and veer right to the tower trailhead. The hike is 1.4 miles with 960 feet of elevation gain. See map here.
Additional Information: The project was managed and supervised by two HistoriCorps instructors and was designed to optimize learning opportunities. Camping, tools, safety equipment, and meals were provided by HistoriCorps.
To learn more about this project please contact Amy Eller, HistoriCorps Volunteer Coordinator, at 303-893-4260 x 225 or firstname.lastname@example.org