Mount Zion Lookout
US 1306, CA 129

Lookout Details

Registry Numbers US 1306, CA 129 (view other lookouts in United States, California)
Date Registered October 15, 2019
Nominated by Brad Eells
Location Mt. Zion State Forest, Amador County
Amador County, California
Coordinates N 38° 23.359' W 120° 39.131' (view using Google Maps)
N 38° 23' 22" W 120° 39' 08"
N 38.389314° W 120.652188°
Elevation 2,969 ft (905 m)
Built 1930
Administered by California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire)


The Aermotor Company tower was erected by the State in 1930. A tree lookout may have existed before that time. A SERA camp was set up here in the winter of 1931-32. The associated office/water tower and garage may have been built in 1932 as a part of that program. The SERA camp was converted into a CCC camp. The BC-201 lookout residence was built under the ECW program. All buildings retain a high degree of integrity. These facilities are located within the Mount Zion State Forest.


Change Basemap


Photo courtesy of Ron Kemnow

June 3, 1930

June 3, 1930 - courtesy of Stockton Independent

Circa 1955

Circa 1955 - courtesy of "Forests of California"

Visit Reports

May 14, 2020: Alex Sharp


Needs paint? No
Shutters OK? Not Applicable
Condition of wood OK? Not Applicable
Stairs OK? Yes
Glass intact? Yes
Good condition? Yes
Comments: The shutters that used to be on the tower are no longer there but may possibly be replaced by CAL FIRE. Currently the lookout is undergoing some minor renovation in the cabin for staffing. is ongoing by CAL FIRE. The Osborne fire finder is currently not in the tower as the inside is being renovated. An air conditioner has been installed on the east side of the tower and new laminate flooring has been installed. Additional electrical plugs have been installed. Before June 1, 2020 a base station radio will be installed in the tower along with the Osborne Fire Finder for staffing starting on June 1, 2020 by CAL FIRE V.I.P (Volunteers In Prevention) persons. Pictures to come once everything is completed.

Electronics and Enroachments

Are electronic sites enroaching on tower? No

Access and Signs

NHLR sign posted? No
Directions to tower signed? Yes
Comments? This sits on the Mount Zion Demonstration State Forest. Parking is located at the intersection of Mount Zion Rd. and Lookout Rd. A locked gate blocks further vehicle access up to the tower except for CAL FIRE, CAL FIRE V.I.P., and Repeater vault access. Quite a few trails are available along with the well kept gravel road that lead around or up to the lookout tower. The lookout tower itself is not accessible by the average person at this time but very soon. As of now people can walk right up to the fence around the tower.


Staffed? Yes
Starting June 1, 2020 the lookout will be staffed 7 days a week by CAL FIRE V.I.P. persons. Unknown as to the schedule as of yet but the proposed is from 0700-1900 to start with. That schedule could vary on the availability of the V.I.P. persons and the severity of the fire danger and the time of the year. I will be one of the V.I.P. persons staffing the tower this year.

Opportunities for Volunteer Support

Volunteers staffing opportunities? Yes
Volunteer maintenance opportunities? Unsure