Tahquitz Peak Fire Lookout

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

Tahquitz was a working fire lookout until the end of the 1993 fire season and reopened October 1998 staffed by volunteers. The hike to the lookout, through the San Jacinto Wilderness offers some of the most beautiful vistas in Southern California including the Salton Sea. 

Tahquitz Peak Lookout at its elevation of 8,846 feet is the highest lookout in the San Bernardino National Forest. It is also the forest’s longest continuously operated station, serving some 77 years, and is the only lookout located inside a Wilderness area.

In the San Jacinto Wilderness, all work must be done with regular hand tools. Due to its wilderness location no power tools, not even cordless, are allowed.

The origin of Tahquitz's name is derived from the Cahuilla god Tahquish who believe the peak to be the god's home.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Open.  Due to Covid19 for the safety of our volunteers and the general public, visitors are not allowed on the tower when it is manned. 
Operational Hours: Summer season
Permit Info: Permits are self-serve at the Idyllwild Ranger Station. 
Busiest Season: Summer
  • Group size is limited to 12 people.
  • No campfires allowed.  Portable gas stoves are allowed.
  • Camp on a durable surface at least 200 feet away from other people, trails, meadows, and water sources.
  • Pack out what you pack in.  Leave no Trace!
Closest Towns: Idyllwild
Water: No
Restroom: No
Information Center: Forest Service, Idyllwild Ranger Station. Call 909-382-2921

General Information


The trail to Tahquitz Peak Lookout is a 4.5-mile hike via either Devil's Slide or South Ridge trails. Both require Wilderness permits. Devil's Slide requires an Adventure Pass. Adventure Passes are $5/day or $30/year. Interagency Passes also accepted. For more information, please visit our recreation pass page.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information



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