Calpine Lookout

National Campground
  • Cabins


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 rented space at this time. Calpine sits at an elevation of 5,980 feet in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Tahoe National Forest, approximately 40 miles from Truckee, California. The lookout is ideally suited for over-the-snow ski or snowmobile access. The lookout does not have electricity or water. It contains propane-powered appliances. Before arrival, visitors should call the Sierraville Ranger District at (530) 994-3401 (Monday through Friday) for road and weather conditions or fire restrictions. The cabin is accessed by an improved Forest Service Road; passenger cars are not recommended; vehicles may get snowed in during late fall snowstorms. Weather conditions and snow may cause an early seasonal road closure or a late spring opening If the road is impassable due to mud or snow, the gate combination will not be given and the only access to the lookout will be on foot. The key for the lookout is kept in a lockbox at the lookout; renters will be given the combination to the gate and the lockbox upon check-in Snowshoes, skis or snowmobiles are required to access the lookout when snow is present.. In winter conditions, temperatures may be as low as -21 degrees; cold weather clothing is required. No water is available; visitors must bring their own supply. Wildlife is abundant; all food must be kept in secured containers. Pack out all food and trash. Lightning may be a hazard during summer storms. Renters must provide a valid contact phone number so the district staff may contact renters to provide any updated information before arrival.

Don’t Move Firewood: Protect California’s forests from tree-killing pests by buying your firewood locally and burning it on-site. For more information visit


  • BBQ
  • Fire Pit
  • Picnic Table
  • Propane
  • Restroom


  • Pet Friendly

RV Rentals

Calpine Lookout


317 S. LINCOLN, SIERRAVILLE, California, 96126