Day Hike to Needles Fire Lookout
Golden Trout Wilderness


Highlights: The Needles Fire Lookout sits spectacularly on top of an 8,245 feet granite spire, with sheer drop offs on three sides of 60 to 400 feet. A Forest Service employee lives in the lookout during the summer, and welcomes visitors up to the tower to enjoy expansive views of the Kern River Drainage, Golden Trout Wilderness, Mt. Whtney, and Dome Rock.

Directions: The drive takes at least 2 hours from Bakersfield. Head north on Highway 99, and exit onto Highway 65. Continue north another 40 miles to the Lake Success-Highway 190 exit just before reaching Porterville. Drive 19 miles east on Highway 190 to Springville. Continue on the highway another 25 miles past town and past the Quaking Aspen Campground, and turn left on Forest Road 21S05 going east. A parking area is reached after 3.5 miles of dirt road. From the trailhead, a 2.5 mile trail leads to the staircase at the base of the Lookout. Call (559) 539-2607 for USFS road conditions.

Maps: Sentinel Peak and Durrwood Creek 7-minute topographic quadrangles


  • No water is available on this hike, or at the Lookout. So remember to bring your own from home.


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