Dark Canyon Lookout Observation Site

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

Lookout:  Dark Canyon

Dark Canyon, the only lookout located on the Guadalupe Ranger District, is an Aermotor MC-99 type 7’ X 7’ cab sitting on a 48 foot high steel tower. Erected in 1949, it is one of only two MC-99 types still standing in the southwestern Region (the other is on the Kaibab National Forest). The Dark Canyon site has been used for fire detection since 1910, utilizing two tall pine trees with ladders and platforms, until replaced by a steel lookout in the late 1930s.  This tower was condemned within a year, and the use of the lookout trees was resumed.  Dark Canyon’s second steel lookout was surplused from the U.S. Army and erected on the site in 1949.  The original tower height  was 90 feet tall, but only the last 48 feet were ultimately used.  Next to the lookout are an Observer’s cabin and shed; both are wood frame constructions that were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the late 1930s.  Dark Canyon Lookout was not eligible for the National Register when the 1989 nomination of lookouts in the Southwestern Region was made.  Dark Canyon became eligible in 1999 and will soon be nominated.

At a Glance

Open Season: January
Usage: Light
Closest Towns: Carlsbad, NM
Water: No
Restroom: No
Operated By: Forest Service

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Nature Viewing

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Trail Matrix - D1 Image

Listing of trails for the Smokey Bear Ranger District Link opens in a Pdf Document

Trail Matrix - D2 Image

Listing of trails for the Sacramento Ranger District Link opens in a Pdf Document

Trail Matrix - D3 Image

Listing of trails for the Guadalupe Ranger District Link opens in a Pdf Document