Signal Peak survived

Mountain Secrets

Tony KrizanMay 30, 2012 

During the last 30 years we as a society have been increasing our technical skills. With the introduction of satellite technology, an aging part of our once productive past, is a historical landmark. One such example of these changes is related to our neighboring Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Just outside of Yosemite National Park at 6,989 feet, perched on top of Signal Peak is a forgotten lonely lookout station. This is one of many structures in today's fast pace that have not achieved the status of obsolesce. For many years throughout our local mountains lookout towers were an intricate part of keeping watch over our precious wilderness. Data on forest fires, weather reports and even locating that lost hiker or downed aircraft were part of their responsibilities.

Through the years I have visited many of these towers which today are vacant and serve as a monument to our past. But today the tower on Signal Peak will be a change of pace. This tower was built in 1945 and is still operational during the summer months.

Signal Peak or on the USGS maps is called Devils Peak. From its lofty location it has a 360 degree view of the surrounding mountains. Looking east into the distant canyon Chilnualna Falls is displaying its spring run-off. The Native Americans also called these falls Leaping Waters.

Just beyond the falls are the snow-capped mountains surrounding Yosemite National Park.

Looking closely into the canyons to the south, partially hidden within the trees is Footman Ridge Road. Gradually this scenic dirt road skirts across the ridge moving to the west. Just beyond Kirby Peak at 5,548 feet, the developed areas of Darrah and Lush Meadow can be seen in the distance.

On the west side of this tower embedded within a huge boulder is a survivor marker identifying this location. Be careful when dropping down to verify this marker. The mountain drops off more than 200 feet into the valley below. The tower itself is locked for security purposes, but from this vista viewpoint today's adventure is worth the hike.

Before driving on any of these mountain roads contact the forestry for road conditions. Fallen trees can be difficult to drive around. Always carry a map of the visiting area, sometimes these old logging or forestry roads can be confusing to follow.

During the spring season, after the snow has melted at the lower elevations, we can now take advantage of this wilderness scenery. Make sure you make time in your busy schedule and enjoy the wilderness areas around our National Park.

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