Article and photos by Liz Jurkowski
Devils Head Lookout is a terrific destination right here in Douglas County. Grab the kids and the dog and head out for a fun hike through some great scenery with some history thrown in.
In 1912, the National Forest Service built a lookout tower at the top of a large granite outcropping in Pike National Forest. The outcropping is visible from Castle Rock to Woodland Park, and was a perfect location to build a fire lookout tower. On a clear day, the lookout ranger can see one hundred miles in all directions. The tower is the only remaining fire lookout staffed by the National Forest Service in Colorado and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1991.
The Devils Head National Recreation Trail is a moderate three mile (round trip) hike. It is mostly shaded, has benches to rest on, and is well maintained. It gains 950 feet in elevation from the trailhead to the Lookout Tower, including 143 steep stairs at the top of the granite outcrop. The final elevation is 9,748 feet, and offers stunning views of the entire front range.
This is an easy hike for kids. It meanders through aspen and pine trees, through rocks and crevices, and ends in a beautiful meadow strewn with boulders. The hike is popular on weekends, so arrive early to beat the crowds. Bring a lunch to enjoy at the picnic table in the meadow. The whole hike should take between two and three hours at a very easy pace.
To get to Devils Head, travel west on Highway 67 from Sedalia. Turn left (south) on Rampart Range Road and travel for nine miles until reaching the Devils Head Campground. The trailhead and parking lot are just beyond the campground.