Calpine Lookout

Calpine Lookout

The Calpine Lookout location is in Sierraville, California
96126. This page provides detailed contact information for this campground location including the campground phone number, office hours, reservation information and driving directions.

If you have any questions about the Calpine Lookout facility, or if you need to reserve a campsite, then call the campground listed below.

Sierraville Ranger District
317 South Lincoln Street (Hwy 89)

Phone number
(530) 994-3401


Campground information Sierraville, California


Calpine is a forest fire lookout tower that was constructed in 1934 by the Civilian Conservation Corps, and is one of three remaining examples of the enclosed windmill-style lookout in California. The lookout was actively used every summer until 1975. It is a three-story structure with external stairs. The top room or observation cab is the only rentable space at this time. This is a popular rental facility that is booked almost every night of the year.

Calpine sits at an elevation of 5,980 feet in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of the Tahoe National Forest, approximately 40 miles from Truckee, California. During the summer, renters can drive directly to the base of the tower. In winter, the road is often closed due to snow and ice so access is by snowshoes, skis or snowmobile.

The lookout has propaned-powered appliances but does not have electricity or water.


Hiking and mountain biking trails are within 15 miles of the lookout. The Pacific Crest Trail can be accessed approximately 20 miles away.


The interior of the cab measures 14′ by 14′ and currently has two single twin beds, a dry sink, a table and chairs, three propane lights, a propane heater, a propane stove/oven and a fire finder. A limited assortment of cooking utensils, pots and pans are provided. The facility has its own propane tank.

An accessible vault toilet,a picnic table and fire ring are located outside, at the base of the lookout. Firewood is not provided. When fire restrictions go into effect during the summer, no campfires are permitted.

Visitors should plan on bringing their own bedding, groceries, toilet paper and other personal items. Check-in is after 1:00 pm, check-out is by 12:00 pm.

Natural Features

The lookout tower sits on a mountain top with views of the Sierra Valley, Haskell Peak to the west, Nevada to the east and Lassen Peak to the far northwest. The lookout is approximately a half hour of travel time from Sand Pond, Sardine Lakes and the Lakes Basin Area. Wildlife is abundant in the area. On a clear night, renters can gaze on an almost endless galaxy of stars and meteorites.

Frequently Asked Questions About Sierraville Ranger District Sierraville, CA

How do I make a reservation with Calpine Lookout?

To make reservations at Calpine Lookout, you can call the office at (530) 994-3401.

Where is Calpine Lookout located?

The Calpine Lookout is located at Sierraville Ranger District 317 South Lincoln Street (Hwy 89) in Sierraville,
. This is the location you will need to go to for camping and information.

Does Calpine Lookout have tent or RV camping?

Calpine Lookout offers both tent and RV camping, but to confirm you will need to call the office at (530) 994-3401 to make sure things haven’t changed.

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