Lookout!

Calpine Fire Lookout

The hardest part about spending the night in Sierraville’s historic Calpine fire lookout? Deciding what time of year to go! Set at 5,970 feet, this private and cozy overnight escape offers something for every type of adventurer, including spectacular 360-degree views thanks to its large windows and wrap-around observation deck. The interior has two twin beds, a table and chairs, a cast-iron stove for heating, a stove/oven, propane lighting, and a dry sink. The scenery sweeps from Mount Lassen and the Sierra Valley to Sierraville and the ridgeline separating the Lakes Basin Area to the west. Sunrise and sunsets are brilliant. The lookout, open year round, books up quickly; you’ve just got to decide what type of experience you want. In winter you’ll hike or snowshoe 2.5 miles (one-way) on a rugged road to reach the lookout, gaining nearly 1,000 feet in elevation as you hoof in your own food, water, and bedsheets. When the road is in reliably passable condition (most likely in early fall, spring, and summer, but with wild weather predicted due to El Niño, it’s hard to know for sure) you can drive right up to the lookout. Either way, it’s a cool place to sleep tight under the Sierras’ starry night.

Reservations for the Calpine Lookout can be made online through Reserve America. To check in for the lookout, visit the Sierraville Ranger Station at 317 S. Lincoln, Sierraville, where you’ll get a gate code and thorough directions to access the lookout. NOTE: You’ll need to bring your own bedding and water. Call the Sierraville Ranger Station if you have any questions or concerns prior to your trip: (530) 994-3401.

Trending Stories Northern CA

View all Stories
  1. Image that represents the story

    Tam Slam!

    This 8-mile (round-trip) hike is a pure classic, with redwoods, water-flows, and soaring views of the coastline. Oh yeah, and that ladder!

    View
  2. Image that represents the story

    Secret Beach

    A hidden beach and a killer view? Those are hard to come by, but that’s exactly what you’ll get at Perles Beach on Angel Island. This pocket cove is worth the 1.5-mile trek to get there.

    View
  3. Image that represents the story

    Magical McClures

    McClures Beach is a seductive little spot: small, beautiful, and quiet. It’s easy to while away an afternoon-turned-sunset at this pocket cove in Point Reyes.

    View
  4. Image that represents the story
    Sponsored

    Road Trip Ahead: Oregon Outback

    Remote open spaces, camping under true Dark Skies, hiking and biking trails galore, wildlife refuges, and hot springs! Plan your road trip to the Oregon Outback this summer.

    View

Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Image that represents the story
    Sponsored

    Road Trip Ahead: Oregon Outback

    Remote open spaces, camping under true Dark Skies, hiking and biking trails galore, wildlife refuges, and hot springs! Plan your road trip to the Oregon Outback this summer.

    View
  2. Image that represents the story

    Easiest Best Hike in the World

    Choose the easiest and most view-rewarding hike in Yosemite. Okay, we’ll go first: the combination of hiking to Sentinel Dome and Taft Point. Both of these lookouts are within a couple miles of each other on Glacier Point Road

    View
  3. Image that represents the story
    Sponsored

    All Roads Lead to Rogue

    Idea for your next road trip: Go Rogue! The Rogue Valley in beautiful Southern Oregon has some of the state’s best hiking, swim holes, and wineries, and the charming historic towns of Ashland, Medford, and Jacksonville.

    View
  4. Image that represents the story

    Bouquet of Waterfalls

    Like a good love letter, some of the best hiking trails are short and sweet. Cue the hike to Bouquet Falls in Santa Clarita Valley’s Bouquet Canyon.

    View