Forest Fire Lookouts

Monte VistaThe Forest Fire Lookouts have a rich tradition within the U.S. Forest Service. Many of these Fire Lookouts are protected by historic landmark status.

To locate fires on forest maps, Lookouts use an Osborn Fire Finder, invented by Forest Service employee William "W.B." Osborne, in 1911. Lookouts used telephones, carrier pigeons and heliographs (Morse code using sunlight reflected off a mirror) to report fires. Today, radios are used. From the very beginning, lookouts were conscientious and devoted to duty.

The Coronado National Forest staffs four Lookouts during the peak fire season: Monte Vista, Red Mountain, West Peak, and Lemmon Rock.

Lookouts on Mt. Bigelow, Webb Peak and Heliograph Peak are used as needed for detection.

  • Monte Vista Lookout is located on Douglas Ranger District. Elevation: 9,357. Established in 1966 – Accessible by trail.
  • Red Mountain Lookout is located on the Sierra Vista Ranger District. Established in 1973. Elevation: 5,847 - Accessible by road
  • West Peak Lookout is located on the Safford Ranger District. Elevation: 8,685. Established in 1933 – Accessible by road.
  • Heliograph Peak Lookout is located on the Safford Ranger District. Established in 1933. Elevation: 10,028 - Accessible by road.
  • Webb Peak Lookout is located on the Safford Ranger District. Elevation: 9,656. Established in 1933 – Accessible by trail.
  • Lemmon Rock Lookout is located on the Santa Catalina Ranger District. Elevation: 8,960. Established in 1928 - Accessible by road.
  • Mt. Bigelow is located on the Santa Catalina Ranger District. Elevation: 8,129. Established in 1958 - Accessible by road.

Recreation Opportunities

Coronado National Forest Lookout Towers offer some of the best panoramic views available, each one unique and varied. Access to Lookout Towers may be limited to summer months (early June through October) due to adverse weather conditions and road closures.

Visiting a Lookout

When visiting a lookout tower, bring the following:

  • Jacket or windbreaker
  • Camera
  • Lunch/snacks
  • Drinking water
  • Binoculars
  • Other personal needs such as medications

Other advisories:

  • Do not visit lookout towers when storms are present or forecast.
  • No shooting within a quarter mile or in sight of tower
  • No camping
  • No campfires
  • No firearms in tower
  • Visit only during working hours
  • Pack Home all that you Pack In

For more information:
www.firelookouts.com
 





https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/coronado/landmanagement/resourcemanagement/?cid=stelprdb5315379