Co-opt between LA County Fire Department & USFS
Tower: NOTT10’- Non-battered, open timber towers, 10 feet high
Cab: C3- USFS Region 5 1934 standard 14′ X 14′ wood cab (BC-301 series)
Elevation: 4,605 feet
Topo Map: USGS Lake Hughes
Coordinates: 34.641164, -118.413488
Trail reports: PeakBagger and AllTrails
Grass Mountain at 4,605 feet, is a high point in the Sierra Pelona Mountains, Angeles National Forest. The summit is a grassy glade surrounded by Coulter pines with views of rural communities such as Green Valley, the desert landscapes of the Antelope Valley and the surrounding Sierra Pelona peaks.
A lookout was built here in 1934 as a cooperative effort between the U.S. Forest Service and the Los Angeles County Forestry Department.
Photograph of Grass Mountain lookout from The Los Angeles Times, Nov 16, 1941
CCC working on Grass Mtn Road. Taken by TK Owen, July 1933, Courtesy National Archives, photo no. 95-GP-351-279402
Lookout staff included George Ealy in 1938, Herbert Gage in 1940, George W. Wilson in 1941 and Herbert Walstead in 1951.
In 1951, the ill-fated tower was razed by a fire that consumed 9,000 acres around Lake Hughes. The Signal on August 30 1951 reported:
Exhausted firefighters battling a stubborn three day brush fire in upper San Francisquito canyon Tuesday had contained the 9,000 acre burn on all fronts…The Grass Mountain fire tower was lost when roaring flames driven by high winds swept up the mountain. The fire moved so fast that firefighters were unable to save the tower.
The aftermath of Grass Mountain fire lookout station burned to ground. Angeles National Forest fire, 1951. Courtesy of USC Digital Library
Today, only a few concrete blocks remain in an otherwise barren summit and a Remote Automated Weather Station planted there by the County of Los Angeles Fire Department Forestry, Fire Plan Unit.
Grass Mountain on upper right with sun setting and high winds blowing
On the summit of Grass Mountain…not a trace of the old lookout
Only a few concrete blocks here and there. Pup hates the winds. The lookouts must’ve dealt with record breaking desert gales
Dirt road on the summit lined with pine trees
Grass Mountain lookout, part of a collage of fire lookouts displayed at Chilao Visitor Center. Credit: Michael Smith.