Lookout Peak is located in the Rabbit Ears Range in Northwest Colorado and not far south of Parkview Mountain and not far to the north of the Corral Peaks. The peak is un-named on the topographic map, but most locals know it as Lookout Peak or Lookout Mountain and the signs along the trail call it Lookout Point. Whatever the true name, Lookout Peak provides a fine view, but the view to Parkview Mountain to the north is mostly obscured by trees. There are good views in all other directions.
Despite its relatively low elevation, climbing the peak requires a longer hike than most of its neighbors and including its larger neighbors of Parkview Mountain and Corral Peaks. The peak makes a nice early season hike since the north ridge is usually snow free much earlier than the surrounding peaks.
Looking Northwest over the north ridge from near the summit of Lookout Peak.
From just west of Granby, turn north on Highway 125 at Windy Gap Reservoir. Drive north on Highway 125 between mile markers 11 and 12 and turn west onto the unpaved, but well graded FR 108, which is labeled from the highway for “King Mountain Ranch”. Follow this road for 2.1 miles to a parking lot on the right side of the road. Park here.
This is the typical scene along Lower Buffalo Creek near the trailhead.
Routes OverviewNorth Ridge and Buffalo Park Loop Route
Of all the route possibilities, the North Ridge and Buffalo Park Routes are the most well known and since they start at the same trailhead, they can be combined into a nice loop. The north ridge route is mostly dry as early as late May or early June, but the Buffalo Park route is wet and muddy until at least July. The round trip distance for this just over 8 miles and with 2618 feet elevation gain.
This is Buffalo Park.
The mountain could be climbed from the south and over Searight Mountain as well. Access this route from the big switchback FR 112, but there is no marked trailhead and you have to follow the map carefully. The Elk Mountain Trail (part of which also follows the north ridge route above) is just west of this big switchback and could be used to access Lookout Peak. It is supposed to be a good trail.
Another possible route from the south is to park on FR 112-1A not far south of the big switchback on FR 112 mentioned above. From there, the Elk Mountain trail goes over the top of Searight Mountain and all the way to the area of Lookout Peak. This part of the trail is said to be pretty faint.
If attempting the southern routes, make sure to take a good map and also see the book, Hiking Grand County, Colorado.
No permits are required. The standard routes avoid any private property.
There are good campsites along the access roads, but make sure to camp on public land. There are some nice campsites along the Buffalo Park route as well.
There are also several campgrounds along Highway 125 not far north of the turnoff to the trailhead.
When to Climb
If using the North Ridge route, it is usually mostly snow free by late May or early June and the season would extend into October. The Buffalo Park Route can be rather wet and muddy before July.
Lookout Peak would make a very safe winter ascent with no avalanche danger, so winter can be a good time to climb as well. The peak has easy access year round. Use caution during the hunting season.
Haystack Mountain as viewed from the summit of Lookout Peak in June.
For current trail and snow conditions, more information, and access issues contact:
Sulphur Ranger District
9 Ten Mile Drive
Granby, CO 80446
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Below is the climate summary for nearby Grand Lake 1 NW at 8600 feet elevation. These are all averages, so expect more variation, but this will give you a good idea about the climate at higher elevations in the area. *National Weather Service Data 1907-2008.
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