Fire Lookout on Mestaa’ėhehe Mountain

Area Status: Open
Squaw Mountain Fire Lookout thumbnail

The Forest Service's Fire Lookout on Mestaa’ėhehe Mountain (pronounced mess-taw-HAY) is available for rent year round. The site is located directly off of Colorado Highway 103 west of Bergen Park and sits at the summit of Mestaa’ėhehe Mountain, which also is an active communication tower site in Clear Creek County. In addition to being an active communication site, the Mestaa’ėhehe Mountain area is a popular dispersed recreation use area with hiking, recreational target shooting, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and camping. 

The unique structure is constructed of native granite, situated at over 11,000 feet elevation, and was built in the 1940’s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The cab measures 14 feet by 14 feet and is completely lined by windows on each side and surrounded by a catwalk, all of which sit on top of a one story stone base. The lookout rental includes an electric stove, refrigerator, and heat; beds; table and chairs; dishes; and incinerating toilet, and can accommodate four people per night. *Please be aware that visitors are expected to clean and maintain the incinerating toilet to ensure proper operation of the unit. Failure to keep the facility clean could jeopardize the rental program. Besides offering the unique experience of living in a fire lookout, Mestaa’ėhehe Mountain will give renters panoramic views of Denver, Mount Evans and other snow-capped peaks. 

Visitors should be prepared for high altitude conditions. Summertime temperatures average 70 degrees but can drop as low as 30 degrees at night or during the frequent summer afternoon thunderstorms. High winds frequently occur.  Winter storms can limit access to the site and visitors should be prepared to snowshoe or cross-country ski 2-3 miles to the lookout. Renters should also be prepared with winter camping equipment in the event of storms or power outages. There will be no refunds for weather conditions. Always check the appropriate weather forecast before visiting.   

Access to the site during the summer months is from Colorado Highway 103 via Forest Road 192.1 to a small parking area at the end of the road. The parking area of the lookout is accessible by car, although the access road is rocky, a high clearance vehicle is recommended for the drive. Please park in the designated "Lookout Parking" area and do not block access to the gate. From the parking area a mile hike up a steep dirt road is necessary to reach the lookout. During the winter months access is from a small parking area along Highway 103 at the junction Forest Road 192.1 and travel 2 miles to the lookout. Due to the remote location of the site and difficult access there is no water available at the lookout, nor garbage service, therefore guests are asked to pack-it-in and pack-it-out. 

Reservations required. Reserve online at

At a Glance

Current Conditions: The Fire Lookout is open for reservations.
Operational Hours: Check-in is at 3:00 and Check-out is at 12:00
Reservations: Reservation required. Reserve online at or by calling 1-877-444-6777 as early as 180 days in advance and at least 4 days prior to arrival. There are occasionally cancellations, so periodically check the date availability tab to see if a date becomes available.
Area Amenities: Toilets
Usage: Medium
  • No tent camping allowed at site.
  • Not recommended for children. 
  • No Pets.
  • Pack it in- Pack it out.
Closest Towns: Evergreen, CO; Idaho Springs, CO
Water: No Potable Water
Restroom: Incinerating Toilet
Operated By: U.S. Forest Service

General Information


Please follow the directions provided below and do not use other navigation applications.

From Interstate 70, take Exit 240 (Colorado 103) and drive south over the bridge, for 19 miles. Turn right onto a dirt road, Forest Service road 192.1 and continue for one mile where you will come to a locked gate. Park below the gate in the designated parking area (do not block the gate) and proceed on foot one mile up the road to the Lookout Tower. During the winter park off the right hand shoulder of the road and continue on foot on the road to right, heading southeast for two miles where you will come to a locked gate. Pass around the gate and continue for one more mile to the Lookout Tower.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Cabin Rentals

Size Restrictions 4
Difficulty Level: Intermediate to Difficult

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XC Skiing/Snowshoeing



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