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Frazier Mountain Lookout

The Frazier Mountain Lookout now sits abandoned and gutted. Originally put into service in 1905, it was the first lookout in what was the Santa Barbara National Forest and served as a way to spot wildfires. At 8013ft above sea level, you have quite a view of the area!

The building that currently stands was brought in from Santa Barbra in 1952 after the original structure burnt down. The structure still stands atop the mountain almost 70 years later, now surrounded by modern communication towers.

“A Forest Service Bulletin reported that in 1932, the lookout operator received the newspaper twice daily by air. A Varney Airlines (predecessor to United Airlines) pilot dropped a San Francisco paper on his southbound route and a Los Angeles paper on his return route north. The pilot and lookout corresponded regularly via mail.” – National Historic Lookout Register

These men & women who stayed at the lookout were mostly isolated. Luckily they were well prepared with food, a stove and sleeping area as well as radios for communications to the world below.

An Osborne Fire Finder map found near the lookout. Invented in 1911 by William Bushnell Osborne, Jr., this map mounted to a steel plate would sit up in the lookout with an attached viewing device. The device was used to pinpoint where the smoke in the distance was coming from.

The Frazier Mountain lookout can be found at the below location. It’s a fun drive up but I wouldn’t do it in a car. My RWD truck made it up without a problem but there were some pretty rough and rocky spots. Lots of campgrounds and amazing views of the stars so this may end up being a future camping trip!



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