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About Calpine Lookout
Calpine is a forest fire lookout tower that was constructed in 1934 by the Civilian Conservation Corps, and is one of three remaining examples of the enclosed windmill-style lookout in California. The lookout was actively used every summer until 1975. It is a three-story structure with external stairs. The top room or observation cab is the only rented space at this time. Calpine sits at an elevation of 5,980 feet in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Tahoe National Forest, approximately 40 miles from Truckee, California. The lookout is ideally suited for over-the-snow ski or snowmobile access. The lookout does not have electricity or water. It contains propane-powered appliances. Natural Features: The lookout tower sits on a hill in the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada, within 15 miles of Sand Pond and Gold Lake. Wildlife is abundant in the area. Recreation: Hiking and mountain biking trails are within 15 miles of the lookout. The Pacific Crest Trail can be accessed approximately 20 miles away. For outings on the water, Gold Lake is northwest of the lookout, and Sand Pond is west of Calpine. Facilities: The interior of the cab measures 14 by 14 and currently has two single beds, a dry sink, a table and four chairs, three propane lights, a propane heater, a propane stove/oven and a fire finder. A limited assortment of cooking utensils, pots and pans is provided. An accessible pit toilet and a picnic table and fire ring are located outside the lookout. Firewood is not provided. Visitors must bring their own bedding, toilet paper and other personal items. ACTIVITIES Biking: Mountain Biking Hiking Winter Sports: Snowmobile Trails Wildlife Viewing
Drive In
USDA Forest Service
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Calpine Lookout is located in California
39.679 N
-120.462 W
Get Directions
From Sierraville, head north on State Highway 89 for 9 miles to thetown of Calpine. Look for a sign on the left side of the road, 1.5 milespast Calpine. Once past the gate, continue another 1.5 miles to the lookout.
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