Rising above the San Luis Valley town of Del Norte is Lookout Mountain, a 750-foot high desert hill that offers sublime views of the valley and the San Juan Mountains. The trail begins at the end of Columbia Avenue right in town and winds around the hill’s north side to a water tank. The heavily used trail zigzags steeply up the face. Go right at one junction and then left. The final stretch to the antenna-topped summit requires some modest scrambling. The massive San Luis Valley, the world’s largest alpine valley, is spread out before you. Return the way you came or lengthen your hike on one of the many other trails in this lovely city park, most of which eventually lead back into town.
- There’s no better vantage point in the San Luis Valley to watch the sun set behind the foothills of the San Juan Mountains, so consider a dusk hike.
- This is rattlesnake country so make lots of noise and watch your step. They won’t attack unless threatened.
- Three Barrel Brewing Co. is only four blocks from the trailhead. Known for their experimental beer and artisan pizzas, it makes a great post-hike watering hole.
Recommended season(s): Year-round.
–R. Scott Rappold