Hahns Peak Lookout
Project Overview and Vision
Sitting at 10,839 feet on the mountain from which the town of Hahns Peak takes its name, the Hahns Peak Lookout was constructed by the Forest Service between 1908 – 1912, after the gold and silver mines had already busted. The structure was one of the first officially funded lookouts constructed in Colorado and was part of a network of fire lookouts that worked together to precisely locate wildfires in the area. The lookout is representative of the early conservation movement, and is a symbol for fire management strategies in the early years of the Forest Service, as well as the role of the Forest Service and lookouts during World War II.
The site’s gradual decommissioning during the late 1940’s and early 1950’s is indicative of changing technologies in fire management. Architecturally the site represents the Forest Service’s policy of local Forest Rangers constructing their own administrative facilities based on personal preferences and using locally available tools and materials.
Since its decommissioning, the lookout’s condition had deteriorated over time due to its exposure at high elevation, lack of resources for maintenance, and vandalism. In 2014, Colorado Preservation Inc. listed the Hahns Peak Lookout as one of Colorado’s Most Endangered Places.
The restoration of the Hahns Peak Lookout is a dynamic and multifaceted project; Historic Routt County is proud to partner with the USDA Forest Service and HistoriCorps, to save this special place. Community engagement has been at the heart of this project. We are deeply grateful to the volunteer crews from HistoriCorps, Passport in Time, and the Forest Fire Lookout Association, as well as the young adults of RMYC’s Historic Preservation Corps, who have overcome the extreme weather and logistical challenges of historic preservation at nearly 11,000 feet above sea level!
The final week of work that remains to complete the restoration of the Hahns Peak Lookout will occur summer of 2017. Ultimately, hikers will be able to visit and appreciate this cultural relic and will learn about the history and significance of fire lookouts in the American West and the stories surrounding the Hahns Peak Lookout.
Follow the links to explore the history of the site and for updates on the progress of the Hahns Peak restoration!