Help Restore Colorado’s Historic Devil’s Head Fire Lookout Tower
An important piece of Colorado's history will be preserved for the public for years to come, thanks to the efforts of local volunteers and members of HistoriCorps.
Located in Sedalia, Colorado, at the top of Rampart Range, Devil's Head Lookout Tower was built in 1912 and is the last full-time lookout in Colorado. The structure sits at 9,748' elevation in Pike-San Isabel National Forest. Because of its incredible views, the tower is also a popular hiking destination, attracting many people each year. Since camping and recreational activities are so frequent in this region, human-caused fires break out regularly. Blazes caused by lightning also occur pretty often in this location too. This is why the lookout tower remains staffed.
Fire lookouts were used primarily during the early 20th century in Colorado, as a way for forest rangers to spot smoke in the distance. At the height of their use, there were approximately 8,000 lookouts across the country. Devil's Head Tower is extra special, in that it's the country’s first female fire lookout. Nowadays, these fire towers have mostly been phased out and replaced with plane spotters and drones, but not this historic site.
Since Devil's Head Lookout Tower is still being used today, the planned restoration project is that much more important. In 2020, volunteers repaired and restored nineteen windows at the lookout. In 2022, the project will focus on the signature staircase that carries the weight of hundreds of visitors every year.
Volunteers are needed for June 5-10, June 12-17, June 19-24, and June 26 to July 1. Those participating in the restoration project should be prepared for a moderately strenuous 1.4-mile hike, followed by a 143-stair climb to reach the tower each day. The hike has an elevation gain of 950 feet, so it's recommended that volunteers spend time adjusting the altitude prior to the dates of service.
Those working on the project have the opportunity to pitch a tent or park truck campers and campervans at Devil's Head Campground with the group. HistoriCorps also provides all meals, tools, training, and equipment to volunteers.
HistoriCorps is also helping to restore a historic horse barn in Larimer County this summer. Read more about that project here.