Resource Management

Fairview Peak - An Electrifying Place

 

Historic Fairview Peak

Fairview Peak photo taken circa 1940s

Fairview Peak a History:
Fairview Peak Fire Lookout, a one-room stone hut, is located in the Fossil Ridge Recreation Management Area outside of Pitkin in the Gunnison National Forest. The Lookout is the highest fire lookout in North America, at 13,214 feet elevation, and was constructed around 1912, just seven years after the Gunnison National Forest was established.  It contained a cupola with windows providing a 360-degree view of the surrounding land to a person standing on a small platform inside. A plane table, fire map and alidade were never used at the lookout; however a telegraph line was constructed from the town of Pitkin to the top of the peak, a distance of approximately 10 miles. The tower was manned at least until 1916, this is the last record found detailing work at the lookout. Likely the beginning of the World War ended the period that this lookout was manned. 

In the 1960’s, the Forest Service converted it to a radio repeater station, removing the cupola from the roof and installing grounding wires, and still the lightning was too much.  In 2008, the U. S. Forest Service began the stabilization and restoration of the fire lookout. Over the first 6 years the masonry and roof was worked on with U.S. Forest Service funds and a grant from FFLA Colorado/ Utah Chapter. In 2015 with help from Historicorps the cupola was rebuilt on top of the stone structure. Future work includes finishing trim, painting and installing ground wires. Each year dozens of hikers take the 45-minute hike to the top to take in spectacular views of the La Garita and Collegiate Ranges, and the Continental Divide country.

How to get there:
You can reach the trailhead for the lookout via high clearance dirt road from the town of Pitkin.

 

Fairview Peak

Spectacular views surround the lookout. A volunteer restores the roof on the lookout during a stabilization project.

 

Fairview Peak

Volunteers working on the stabilization project.

lookout in the distance in the evening light

 

In 2015, with help from Historicorps the cupola was rebuilt on top of the stone structure. Future work includes finishing trim, painting and installing ground wires (Photo Courtesy: Xavier Fane).





https://www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/gmug/landmanagement/resourcemanagement/?cid=stelprdb5431990&width=full