Lookout Mountain Lives Up to Its Name

Calling all teenagers: make-out, er, Lookout Mountain.
Calling all teenagers: make-out, er, Lookout Mountain.

As my hiking partner and I pulled up to the trailhead at Lookout Mountain, I realized I had been there before.

Not for hiking. For making out. Back when I was in high school, the trailhead was the site of some very awkward activity. Gross.

Things haven't changed much. We spied a gaggle of teenagers loitering at the trailhead, located at 16th Street, south of Greenway, when we set off on this jaunt.

Seedy activity aside, Lookout turned out to be a helluva a good hike. The mountain offers a three-mile circumference trail or a one-mile summit trail (or a combo of the two if you're feeling ambitious). We went for the summit.

Start on #308 and take a left at the fork to follow #150 to the top. Just a few steps after the turn, your ass will haul up some rocky switchbacks that don't let up. After reaching the saddle, things get more steep and light scrambling is required. Keep on the trail by following the white spray paint marks on the rocks.

The view from the summit, looking north. Note the water tower and the trailhead parking lot -- straight out of a teen movie.
The view from the summit, looking north. Note the water tower and the trailhead parking lot -- straight out of a teen movie.

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Unless you're in super-duper great shape, the summit trail will get your heart pumping for a healthy 20 to 30 minutes straight. It's perfect if you're short on time and want to make the most of your outing.

Not to mention, the view is fantastic. Aptly named, the mountain sits alone, north of the Phoenix Mountain Preserve and west of Shadow Mountain. With the other mountains so far away, a 360 degree view of the valley is unobstructed.

View to the south. This post marks the summit.
View to the south. This post marks the summit.

The only drawback? No shade. I mean, none.

Distance: 1 mile

Time: 45 minutes

Elevation Climb: 475 ft.

Hiker's Tip: Bring sunblock. But don't bring your teenager. The longer they don't know about this place, the better.




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