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.
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