Hike to the Historic Fire Lookout on Hahn's Peak

Rate this Adventure Hahn's Peak Trailhead, Clark, Colorado, United States

  • Activities:

    Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:


  • Season:

    Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:


  • RT Distance:

    4 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    1500 Feet

Family Friendly

From the trailhead nestled in a grove of Aspen trees to the 10,800 ft. summit, the climb up Hahn's Peak provides unmatched 360 degree ​views of North Routt county, Steamboat Lake, and the Zirkel mountains to the east.

Note: summer thunderstorms frequently cause lightning strikes on Hahn's Peak. Please be mindful of the weather and try to hike early in the day.

Hahn's peak is well known and well loved throughout Routt County in Colorado. From miles around, its bald summit can be seen rising prominently from the high Colorado plateau, above Aspen groves and cattle pastures.

To get to Hahn's Peak, drive north from Steamboat Springs on Elk River Road, passing through the town of Clark and eventually reaching the small town of Columbine. Once you see the signs for the "Historic Cabins at Columbine," take a right onto a one-lane dirt road heading east (Rd. 490 on the map). Take a left at the first junction that isn't a driveway, and park at the next fork in the road. From here, hike up the left fork of the road, as it rises from the trees.

As you climb upwards on the road, start to head generally east, arriving at a signed trailhead for the proper hiking trail towards the summit. This trail switchbacks upwards for roughly a mile, as views of Steamboat Lake start to appear through the trees.

Reaching the upper ridge, the summit stares you baldly in the face, and the last half mile of hiking awaits! Many paths meander through the scree of the summit block, and none is any better than another. Be mindful of your footing and move at a comfortable pace. Eventually the fire lookout comes into view, along with the long last scenic rewards.

The fire lookout is an excellent spot for lunch, although don't plan on climbing onto the structure itself. The tower burned a number of years ago after being struck by lightning, and crews have been working in the past couple years to restore it.

Before you go, take a moment to reflect on what it would be like to spend a season high up in this fire lookout, without modern technology for company. For better or for worse, we cannot stay long enough to truly know. Three miles back along the same route returns you to your vehicle. 

Pack List

  • Daypack with:
    • 2 water bottles
    • Camera
    • Rain Jacket
    • Rain Pants
    • Snacks
    • Extra Layers
    • Sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Sturdy Hiking Boots
  • Hiking Layers
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Brian Pinkard

Alaskan backcountry guide and conservation corps alumni

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