First and third images courtesy Bob Muschitz.
Ah, Santa Paula Peak. The lookout here was built in 1930 (per Brown, though some sources say 1931), and seems to be one of the more forgotten lookout sites in the southern Los Padres.
I’m inclined to chalk that up primarily to the fact that its primary access — via Timber Canyon in Fillmore — is a pretty restrictive approach, and that its secondary access — via the East Fork of Santa Paula Canyon — gets very little traffic (especially after the 2005 floods that scoured that canyon).
Early in its life the lookout narrowly escaped destruction by the Matilija Fire, the same conflagration that destroyed the Reyes Peak Lookout; Cermak’s fire history recounts how on 18 September 1932 the lookout was surrounded by flames, but was saved by a desperate backfire.
I haven’t found a definitive answer as yet, but initial research seems to indicate the Santa Paula Peak lookout suffered its destruction during the 1948 Wheeler Springs fire. (This is that part where I declare the fate of this lookout remains another mystery — I’ll report subsequent findings, of course.) While the peak itself is a frequent and favorite target of local peak-baggers and HPS die-hards, it has for the most part been but a minor curiosity to area hikers.
In the Eocene-era geology on the southern flanks, geologists have unearthed good examples of Spatangus tapinus (sea urchins) … the biostratigraphy isn’t on par with, say, Pine Mountain, but there’s some interesting stuff here as well. (See Givens’ study of Eocene molluscan biostratigraphy of the Pine Mountain area for the definitive coverage.)