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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Easy Backdoor way to Signal Peak Fire Lookout Tower

On our New Mexico trip over Labor Day, after visiting the Gila Cliff Dwellings, we went searching for the Signal Peak Fire Lookout Tower.  There is a trailhead located on Highway 15 that most hikers use, but the Bear Canyon Road 1/4 mile east of the trailhead allows you to drive to within 1/4 mile of the peak and firetower, instead of having a hike of 5 miles or so roundtrip.  We found the Bear Canyon Road a pretty drive, with a spot or two  where the Continental Divide Trail intersects and parallels it.  It was in pretty good shape for most passenger cars, and featured several great looking campsites right off of the road. 
The road ended at a locked gate, with the firetower to the north, and Blacks Peak a short hike to the south.  We quickly climbed up the road, and found ourselves at the Signal Peak Fire Lookout.  It's an impressive structure.  We were lucky and found it manned, although the lookout would be going home shortly after our arrival.  We "Hallo'd" up to him, and he said to come on up to look around.  It's great what you can do if you only ask! 
We had some fantastic views of the Gila National Forest, with views into Arizona and Mexico possible.  Here's Blacks Peak in the distance. 
This view is looking to the north toward Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument.  After spending a few minutes looking around I went back down to the base of the tower so that the keeper could lock it up for the night.  As he was preparing to leave, he told me to watch for the rattlesnake that lives in the rocks at the base of the tower.  I looked, but he must have been off somewhere else.  The Signal Peak Lookout is a great stop for views and a unique structure.  I enjoyed reflecting on my visit as I drove back down the road.  I'm glad to have stopped by!

Nearest City: Silver City, NM
Location: N° W°
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Kid Friendly: No
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