Devil's Head Lookout
US 8, CO 1

Lookout Details

Registry Numbers US 8, CO 1 (view other lookouts in United States, Colorado)
Date Registered October 13, 1990
Nominated by Ed Ryberg, District Ranger, U.S. Forest Service, South Platte Ranger District
Location Pike National Forest
Douglas County, Colorado
Coordinates N 39° 15.594' W 105° 06.036' (view using Google Maps)
N 39° 15' 36" W 105° 06' 02"
N 39.259900° W 105.100603°
Elevation 9,702 ft (2,957 m)
Built 1912
Administered by U.S. Forest Service
Cooperators South Platte Ranger District


Devil's Head is a rugged ridge midway between Pike's Peak and Mt. Evans in Colorado's Front Range. The 14'-by-14' ground house at Devil's Head Lookout was constructed in 1912. It was the first lookout in Colorado to be staffed by a female U.S. Forest Service employee, Helen Dowe, who worked at the site from 1919-1921. Dowe was the second female USFS lookout in the country.

The lookout was renovated in 2013 as part of a partnership between USFS and HistoriCorps. As part of this project, wood was repaired and replaced, new roof shingles were installed, and the lookout was painted.

As of 2017, Devil's Head continues to be staffed each summer. The current lookouts is Bill Ellis, who has been at the site for over 30 years. He and his wife, Margaret, raised six of their nine children in the most two-room cabin located in the meadow below the lookout. While Bill searches for fire, Margaret helps educate visitors on the history of fire lookouts and the contribution that women have made to firefighting efforts in Colorado.

Devil's Head is accessible by a National Recreation Trail. It is visited by over 15,000 people each year.

According to a 2019 report, the condition of cab exterior is fair and it needs new shutters.  Condition of interior is fair/good.  The stair treads on the multi-level stairs climbing the rocks are in poor shape (about 70 years old) and need to be replaced.  Jay Karle, the AFMO for the South Platte RD, said that the Colorado FFLA Chapter could be of help in the stair project.  Jay also said that Devil’s Head LO sees about 40,000 visitors a season.  There is a possibility that when Billy Ellis retires that the position may not be filled and cameras may be used instead.


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