Lookout Mountain Park has it all – a panoramic view stretching from the Continental Divide to downtown Denver, acres of wooded foothills, the grave and historic collection of western legend Buffalo
Bill, mountain meadows, a distinctive stone shelter, a twisting scenic mountain road, and access to the the Beaver Brook Trail. The area is divided into a picnic area to the west below the summit and the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave to the east with the Pahaska Tepee gift shop. Even before Buffalo Bill fell in love with the mountain top, Denver leaders recognized its scenic beauty and spectacular setting. In 1915, they set aside 66 acres of forested foothills and steep escarpments as a key resting spot along the Lookout Mountain Drive (later renamed the Lariat Trail). Spectacular vistas are still breathtaking along this twisting mountain boulevard, designed by Frederick L. Olmsted Jr. and built by Cement Bill Williams in 1913. Stone pillars at the base in Golden mark the entry to the Denver Mountain Park system. Since its opening in 1921, Pahaska Tepee has embodied the romantic nature of the great American West. Until the 1970s when a new museum was built, Pahaska displayed the Buffalo Bill collection organized after Buffalo Bill Cody was buried on the summit in 1917. The rustic building of native log and stone wraps partially around the gravesite, and its low profile blends compatibly with the foothills landscape while still maintaining a grand presence. It originally housed a curio shop, soda fountain, and a formal dining room.
Today a concessionaire runs a small restaurant and large gift shop year round. The Buffalo Bill Museum is a year round attraction with fine exhibits chronicling the life of one of great figures of the American west.
A striking native stone picnic shelter, designed by architects W.E and A.A. Fischer and built in 1913, sits west of the summit overlooking the Continental Divide and surrounded by mountain meadows. The foothills landscape is primarily an open Ponderosa Pine forest with an understory of native and shrubs such as mountain mahogany. Steep north-facing slopes are dominated by Douglas-fir forest. Surrounded to the north, east, and west by Jefferson County Open Space, Lookout Mountain Park plays a key role in this larger network of contiguous public lands. The park is entirely within the extensive Deadman Gulch Potential Conservation Area and has high biodiversity significance. Its grassland communities support occurrences of a rare (G2) butterfly and other diverse butterfly occurrences. Jefferson County Open Space’s Nature Center and lands abut Lookout Mountain Park.