Agency: Angeles National Forest
Dates: 1932-1980s
Tower: K-B30’ – USDA, Forest Service L-1600 series: battered, open galvanized steel angle iron K-brace tower, 30 feet high
Cab: C3- USFS Region 5 1934 standard 14′ X 14′ wood cab (BC-301 series)
Status: Demolished
Elevation: 4850 ft
Topo Map: USGS Sleepy Valley; Ritter Ridge
Coordinates: 34.5606, -118.3564
Trail reports: NobodyHikesinLA

Windy Sierra Pelona ridge is crisscrossed by OHV roads and trails with far-reaching vistas of surrounding peaks, the desert and pastoral rolling hills. These extensive views were the reason a fire lookout was once built here. The tower measured at 30-40 feet tall and was part of the Newhall District beginning in 1932. It is unclear why and when the tower was removed. Newspaper articles place the lookout as still existing in the 1980s…

Sierra Pelona Lookout circa 1925Sierra Pelona tower. Courtesy National Museum of Forest Service History

Sierra Pelona Fire LookoutThe lookout first appeared on this Mint Canyon Topo Map from 1932. 

One of the numerous OHV routes leads directly to the site of the former lookout tower, ushering in traffic from dirt bikers and jeeps (and hardly a hiker). Today only a few concrete slabs remain of the historic lookout.

A few staff of the lookout included Ross Lewis in 1938, Irving Fritzen in 1949, Mrs. Ethel R. Babcock in 1953, Wilton A. Casparis in 1961, Claudia Wilson in 1974, and Cal Bedient in 1976.

Sierra Pelona LookoutEthel R. Babcock at Sierra Pelona Lookout, From Valley Times, July 2, 1953

Sierra Pelona LookoutCal Bedient at Sierra Pelona Lookout, 1976

Sierra Pelona LookoutSierra Pelona Lookout. Photo by George Petersen, 1940

Sierra Pelona LookoutIncredible views from this site. A picnic table was built under the shade of the oak trees.

Sierra Pelona fire lookout remainsLikely the footings of the tower. The lookout would often report on recorded gusts of wind up to 100 mph!

Etc. Exploration

Near the former lookout site, there is a large outcropping of stone known as “ribbon rock” because of its unusual stratification.

Precrambian rockPrecambrian rock?

People observing pre-Cambrian rockA close-up view of mountain climbers examining Pre-Cambrian Rocks near Sierra Pelona Lookout, ca.1930. Courtesy of USC Libraries and California Historical Society.

Following the crest of the Sierra Pelona east, the PCT eventually snakes its way across, winding through Bear Springs down to Bouquet Canyon.

PCT from Sierra Pelona RidgeOne of the many ways to climb up to the Sierra Pelona Ridge.

Sierra Pelona RidgeRolling green hills in the spring.

An old trail named the Big Tree Trail once led to the world’s largest recorded canyon live oak (at 37 feet tall, 4 feet thick). However a fire damaged most of the tree decades ago so only it’s burned hulk remains.

Screen Shot 2017-04-15 at 7.21.04 PMBig Tree Trail on a 1930s map. Now long extinct, except maybe for the upper part.

Bouquet Reservoir at SunsetThe remaining light on Bouquet Reservoir

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