Copernicus Peak Lookout
US 1342, CA 165
Copernicus Peak Lookout

Copernicus Peak Lookout - courtesy of

Lookout Details

Registry Numbers US 1342, CA 165 (view other lookouts in United States, California)
Date Registered October 26, 2019
Nominated by Brad Eells
Location Santa Clara County, California
Coordinates N 37° 20.807' W 121° 37.801' (view using Google Maps)
N 37° 20' 48" W 121° 37' 48"
N 37.346777° W 121.630023°
Elevation 4,385 ft (1,337 m)
Built 1931/1938
Administered by California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection - Santa Clara Unit (Cal Fire SCU)


The original lookout was erected on top of the watter tank in 1931.

Copernicus Peak Tower is a special design K-brace tower (Plan No. L-901) with a standard live-in cab (Plan No, BC-301) constructed in 1938.  The facility was designed by architects retained by the Forest Service Regional Office in San Francisco.  The tower is 13’ 6” X 13’ 6” base and is only 13’ high and the only 13’ high K-brace structure in California and was so constructed that it would straddle the pre-existing 10,000 gallon concrete water tank.  The existing cab has only a few minor changes:  aluminum roofing added, several shutters replaced, minor interior changes and stairs have been replaced.  The metal-wood catwalk and handrails are 33’ wide by 42” high (respectively).  The cab feathers hopper windows centered between two stationary panes on three sides, with a wood door (glass upper panel) centered on the fourth (east) wall.

Copernicus Peak, was named by Dr. Holden, the first astronomer at that site, for Copernicus, the Polish Astronomer who discovered the system of planetary evolution.  The lookout is located on University of California property near the Lick Observatory.



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Lick Observatory shares the mountain with the lookout

Lick Observatory shares the mountain with the lookout - courtesy of


2010 - courtesy of Fred Johnson