Devil’s Head Lookout is a little over an hour northwest from Colorado Springs in the town of Sedalia.
Erick has been wanting to hike Devil’s Head Lookout for some time, so we took advantage of a day off and went on a beautifully sunny Monday.
Devil’s Head Lookout is a part of the US Forest service and is a working lookout tower on top of a large rock. Once you get to the top of the lookout tower, you will see breathtaking, 360º views that are some of the most spectacular views in all of Colorado. From the top we could see Pikes Peak, Denver, mountains that seemed to go on forever, and a clear view east.
All of the pictures that we had seen were of the steps leading up to the tower so that definitely seemed feasible for us young family of 5. What I did not realize until we got there was that there was a 1.4 mile hike just to get to the base of the stairs.
First, driving up to the trailhead was beautiful. We drove past these gorgeous million dollar ranches and the hills are green and lush. There is a dirt road that you drive on for about 7 miles and some parts a little nail biting. Just like driving Pikes Peak, I was sure glad that my husband was driving and not me. Our minivan did an excellent job, and we saw dozens of small sedans that also had made the drive up successfully.
We arrived at the trailhead at 9:30 am, and by this time the parking lot was packed. We kind of made our own parking spot on the side of the road. We also went on Memorial Day, so there were several hundred hikers also making the trek up.
As soon as you embark on the trail, the damage from the EF1 tornado last summer was evident. There are blown down trees everywhere, but the trees have all been cleared from the path.
The hike is 1.4 miles up and gains elevation (almost 1,000 feet) fairly quickly. I had read so many reviews that this was such an easy hike. While it was not hard, it definitely was not what I consider an easy hike. An easy hike (to me) would be any hike at Garden of the Gods or Cheyenne Mountain State Park. (I also was carrying my 25 lb 14 month old so that is skewing my judgment slightly).
But nonetheless, my 4 and 3 year old (who took turns complaining the entire way up- sorry fellow hikers!) hiked the entire way up and down the trail, with the exception of my husband carrying my 3 year old down the last 200 yards or so.
We saw kids of all ages hiking and climbing the stairs.
Once you accomplish the hike, next is climbing up the stairs to the actual lookout tower. There are 143 steps up to the watch tower (9,743 feet elevation on top), which is one of only 7 original Lookout Towers. If you’re lucky, Ranger Bill Ellis will be working the tower. He is 79 years old and diligently still watches for smoke that could lead to devastating forest fires. You also will be included into the Ancient and Honorable Order of Squirrels.
Coming back down the stairs is a little precarious, but the hike back down is much quicker and seemed like we were at our car in no time. It took us 90 minutes to get to the steps. We stopped a lot and ate a lot of snacks on the way up 🙂
Boys’ ages at time of hike: 4, 3, 14 months. Not stroller friendly. Baby was in the Ergo