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Arizona Fire Lookouts III, AZ
mini location map2021-08-03
34 by photographer avatarDixieFlyer
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Arizona Fire Lookouts III, AZ 
Arizona Fire Lookouts III, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 03 2021
Hiking10.60 Miles 2,234 AEG
Hiking10.60 Miles
2,234 ft AEG
I decided to head up towards Flag and Williams and visit 4 Fire Lookouts: Woody Mountain; Turkey Butte; Summit Mountain; and Round Mountain.

Woody Mountain
I started and ended this hike at the Rogers Lake Natural Area. I too the Two Spot Trail to the Gold Digger Trail, and then took forest roads up to the summit. This was a very enjoyable hike through a nice forest.

Once on top of the mountain, I went to the Lookout Tower. The tower is 46' high with a 7X& metal cab. The first lookout on Woody Mountain was a tree stand from 1910-1921; it was replaced by a wood tower from 1922-1936, when the current tower was built. I climbed the stairs on the tower up to the trap door, which was padlocked shut.

After checking out the tower, I went NE to an obvious highpoint and located the benchmark.

Turkey Butte
After hiking Woody Mountain I drove over to Turkey Butte. Turkey Butte is just outside of the Rafael Fire closure area.

I saw several mule deer about 1/4 mile away from where I parked to go to the tower. Due to COVID, signs there prohibited going up into the tower. I walked up 2 of the 3 flights of stairs and took a few pictures before heading back down.

I enjoyed the short hike to the tower, and this is worth checking out if you happen to be in the area.

Summit Mountain
After leaving Turkey Butte, I drove to Williams and then made my way to the Summit Mountain Trail. This was a nice hike up to the summit of Summit, although the trail is a bit overgrown in places. There is an overlook at the top that has some nice views. After enjoying the views I walked about 100 yards NE of the communication towers to what I think is the highpoint of Summit Mountain.

There was never a lookout structure on Summit Mountain; instead there was a stand built in a ponderosa pine tree in 1916. At that time it was common to build a platform in a prominent tree that someone could get in and lookout for fires. In 1992 surviving trees that still had much of their lookout function were added to the National Register of Historic Places. The Summit Mountain Tree was one of these.

I had the GPS coordinates for where the lookout tree was supposed to be, but I forgot to load the waypoint on my GPS. I did not see the tree so I may have to go back out there sometime to see if I can locate it.

Views at the top were nice, and I am happy that I did the hike.

Round Mountain
I was looking forward to seeing the Round Mountain Lookout. It was originally constructed in 1934 on Saddle Mountain 8880 in the Coconino Forest, and was moved to Round Mountain in 1960. When it was moved, a side door was installed to replace the customary trap door.

After leaving Summit Mountain, I drove south on County Road 73 to FR 354, and then to FR 129 and FR 138. FR's 129 and 138 were really rocky and rutted out in places. I was on these roads for 5 miles or so, and it took me close to 30 minutes to get to FR138A, where I parked and walked up to the summit.

However, when I go to the Round Mountain summit there was no tower there. There was not even a sign that a tower was ever there. I walked around a bit and the only thing that I saw were 3 grave markers.

When I got back home I called the Williams Ranger District to fine out what happened to the tower, and was told by the Ranger answering the phone that the tower was not being used so it was taken down. She said that I was the 3rd person that had called inquiring about the tower.

I really enjoyed the Woody Mountain hike. Turkey Butte and Summit Mountain were short hikes, but I was glad that I did them. However, Round Mountain is one and done for me. It was a bit of rough ride to get there, and with the tower being dismantled, there is not much to see there.

Stats for these hikes are below. The total above is the sum of these 4.

Woody Mountain: 5.3 miles with an AEG of 984 feet
Turkey Butte: 0.8 miles with an AEG of 213 feet
Summit Mountain: 2.7 miles with an AEG of 686 feet
Round Mountain: 1.8 miles with an AEG of 351 feet
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. -- Edward Abbey
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