Lookout Mountain Summit Hike

Difficulty
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Very Easy
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
1.5-2h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
4.7 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
160 m
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Directions to Trailhead

The Lookout Mountain Summit Hike is an awesome nature walk up to the peak where sits the Buffalo Bill Gravesite and Museum. As you ascend the arid terrain towards the summit, you will be granted unparalleled vistas of Colorado’s grassy plains and snow-capped Front Range peaks. This exciting adventure is perfect for the whole family!

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Route Description for Lookout Mountain Summit Hike

The next time you find yourself in the Denver area it is well worth the short drive to experience the Lookout Mountain Summit Hike. This scenic trail will impress its ventures as it provides awe-inspiring mountain views and historical sites. Though near the hustle and bustle of the city, this path travels through the Colorado wilderness, so be prepared to encounter wildlife. Rattlesnakes are often observed along the trail and the odd mountain lion has been spotted. Keep an eye and ear out for wildlife as you track up to the summit and ensure to give them plenty of space if you do cross paths. It is also worth noting that this excursion is extremely popular, so you will undoubtedly be sharing the path with fellow adventurers. Arrive in the early morning to secure a spot in the limited parking lot and for a more secluded experience up to the peak.

The Lookout Mountain Summit Trail is a popular nature walk, and we totally understand why. This adventure appeals to outdoor enthusiasts and history buffs alike. Hike along the undeniably panoramic path up to the historical Buffalo Bill Gravesite and Museum which attracts thousands of visitors every year. The initial segment of the path may be less frequented, but the summit of Lookout Mountain is often packed. The distance and limited elevation change along the trail means it is easily manageable for children and novice hikers alike - so it’s a great excuse to get the whole family out into nature! Additionally, this versatile adventure can be enjoyed year-round, so depending on the season, lace up your hiking shoes or clip on those snowshoes to venture up the Lookout Mountain Summit Trail!

Embark on your journey along the Lookout Mountain Summit Trail from the parking lot and trailhead off Lookout Mountain Road. From this point, head southwest along the path. The initial section of the route will be exposed before guiding you beneath the sparse tree coverage of towering pines. Soon after your departure from the trailhead, you will be confronted with an intersection. Here, stay left along the Lookout Mountain Trail. At this point the terrain will become increasingly steep, navigate the switchbacks up the path.

Continue hiking along the semi-forested route, enjoying the towering pines that exhibit mountain views through the tree breaks. The path will near Lookout Mountain Road before delivering you to another junction. From here, turn left and head up to the incredible overlook at the summit, or you continue along the Lookout Mountain Trail across the scenic ridge. Keep left and you will be diverted onto the Buffalo Bill Trail to a scenic lookout point. From the overlook, revel in the diversity of the Colorado terrain as you enjoy sights of forested valleys, arid plains, and snow-capped craggy peaks.

Admire the view and continue following the Buffalo Bill Trail. The route will weave you along the road and around to the Buffalo Bill Memorial Museum, Pahaska Teepee Gift Shop and up to the grave atop the summit of Lookout Mountain. Appreciate the expansive vistas of the Colorado landscape and sights of Denver in the east. Enjoy the diverse views and inspect the gravesite before beginning your descent. When you are done exploring, retrace your footing along the path all the way back down to the parking lot and trailhead.

Trail Highlights

Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave

William F. “Buffalo Bill'' Cody was an American soldier, buffalo hunter, Pony Express rider, and actor. Buffalo Bill lived from 1846 to 1917, where he was buried atop Lookout Mountain near Denver Colorado. Regarded as a real-life cowboy, Buffalo Bill was a pioneer of cowboy and wild west mellow dramas and is considered one of the world’s first international celebrities. Now one of the top ten tourist destinations in the Denver area, visitors and locals alike visit the gravesite and museum of the western frontiersman, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Lookout Mountain Summit Trail delivers hikers directly to the grave site; thus, it is a great day-hike that exhibits stunning natural scenery and historical memorabilia of the bygone era.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you drive up to Lookout Mountain?

Yes, you can also drive up to Lookout Mountain. Take the Lookout Mountain Road up to the observation area.

Is Buffalo Bill really buried atop Lookout Mountain?

Though there is speculation as to where Buffalo Bill was buried, he and his wife were laid to rest atop Lookout Mountain in Colorado. To this day many believe he was actually buried in Cody, Wyoming…guess we will never know!

Are there rattlesnakes on the Lookout Mountain Summit Trail?

Yes, there are rattlesnakes commonly spotted along the Lookout Mountain Summit Trail. Make sure to keep an ear and eye out as you trek the path!

Insider Hints for Lookout Mountain Summit Hike

  • Arrive early to secure a spot in the limited parking lot
  • Pack a picnic and have lunch atop the summit, overlooking the stunning Colorado landscapes
  • Trade your hiking boots for snowshoes to enjoy this epic trail year-round
  • Grab a latte at Higher Grounds Cafe after your adventure

Getting to the Lookout Mountain Summit Hike Trailhead

The Lookout Mountain Summit Hike departs from the trailhead off the Lookout Mountain Road.

Route Information

  • Backcountry Campground

    No

  • When to do

    Year-round

  • Pets allowed

    Yes - On Leash

  • Family friendly

    Yes

  • Route Signage

    Good

  • Crowd Levels

    Extreme

  • Route Type

    Out and back

Lookout Mountain Summit Hike Elevation Graph

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