Expedition to Rocky Mountain National Park enlarge enlarge

e-mailed June 22, 1998, 8:06 PM

Twin Sisters

by D. Ferrel Atkins

In this scene, where a girl looks at Moraine Park through her camera, the forest opens to a view to the south to Twin Sisters.

Twin Sisters was the location of a fire lookout, established even before Rocky Mountain National Park came into existence. When I first came to the Park in 1952, it was still maintained as a fire lookout, usually manned by a honeymooning couple. This was a convenient arrangement for the government for the husband worked the standard 40 hour week, and the wife then worked on his "days off". It was not always convenient for the couple, however, for they literally lived in a "glass house". Twin Sisters obviously -- else the lookout would have been located elsewhere -- is a point from which one gets a magnificent view, so it is very popular with hikers, some of whom arranged to arrive on top of the mountain at sunrise. Couples told me of frequently having to lie on the floor to pull on their clothes to avoid being watched by early morning visitors, despite the fact that the entrance to the elevated tower was closed.

With the advent of modern fire-detection methods -- airplane flights with heat sensors -- these lookout towers were abandoned. The one on Twin Sisters was removed, as I recall, about 1970. The only other lookout within the Park, on top of Shadow Mountain overlooking Grand Lake on the Western Slope, has recently been rehabilitated as a historic structure, thanks largely to the vigorous efforts and fundraising of Curt Buchholtz. The view from the top is truly magnificent and well worth a hike to the top of the mountain.