Posted on October 6, 2015 by Krysta Cossitt
The last hike of the 2015 summer season actually brings us into fall. But, the changing of the leaves and the crisp autumn air makes a good conclusion to the series. Devil’s Head Lookout Trail is just outside Sedalia, CO and is just under 3 miles roundtrip so you can easily accomplish the hike before lunch.
Distance: 2.8 miles roundtrip
Walking Time: Approximately 120 minutes
Elevations: 950 ft gain/loss
Parking Lot: 8,800 ft
Trail: Devil’s Head Lookout Trail
The drive to the trailhead is about one hour. Head south on Santa Fe Drive/US-85 till you reach the town of Sedalia. Take a right on US-67 and drive for 10 miles. Turn left on Rampart Range Road and continue driving for about 9 miles. The dirt road is well maintained but you will come across several areas of washboard before you reach the trailhead. The trailhead has several parking spots and restrooms.
As you begin the hike you’ll ascend through many fallen aspen trees. An EF1 tornado ripped through the area on July 21st of this year damaging much of the area. Although an area of 100 yards wide and 500 yards long was destroyed by the winds that were estimated to reach an upwards of 110 mph, the trails have been cleared and you will see the changing colors of the aspen trees farther up the trail.
The trail is a steady incline through the forest and you’ll soon begin to see beautiful views of the Front Range. Continuing on the well-maintained trail, you’ll walk by unique rock formations. Take a break at one of the benches before you hit the halfway point, which is clearly marked with a sign.
It’s very clear once you’ve reached the lookout tower. First to come into view is the cabin where the seasonal fire lookout resides. The cabin is fenced off and considered a private residence so please be respectful. There are, however, plenty of picnic spots under large pine trees and restrooms that are available to hikers.
The remaining portion of the trail will take you up 143 red steps to the lookout tower at the top. The steep steps can be intimidating but the climb is well worth it. The 360-degree view of the Front Range is even spectacular through rain clouds.
Less than 30 fire lookout towers still stand in Colorado and only a small fraction of them are staffed. Devil’s Head is the only operational lookout left on the Front Range.