Black Butte is a 5.1 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Mt Shasta, CA and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible from May until November.
Amazing 360 views!
GO TO SHASTA CITY - trailhead is hard to find otherwise. You can follow GPS directions from there -- otherwise, you will find dead ends from exits more north.
Amazing hike. Only took 57 minutes to make it to the top. The views are amazing. We completed this hike on a cloudy day. Nice to not get beat by the sun and a nice wind to cool you down on the trek. Found the coolest chipmunk at the top that was very friendly and loved dried fruit...
We found and read about this hike based on a reputable hiking book. As others have stated, finding the trailhead proved to to be hit and miss. The guide book stated it was an moderate hike and that dogs were allowed. Note to self: dogs allowed does not necessarily mean it's wise to take your K9 with you up this one. While the views were beautiful, navigating the rocks was very challenging at times. We went yesterday and there r parts of the upper trail where apparent rock slides with large trees blocked the trail in several places making it for an even more precarious and challenging hike. Not sure if this a new occurrence or the norm up there. Just make sure you r aware of what is in store and plan for it to be windy too.
Fun hike, not too many people because it only easy to get to if you've been. Quick hike up and down fun place to just go and hang out and feel really high up. With views for days.
Getting there proved to be a bit of a hit and miss; I started from my hotel in South Week and GPS first sent be to the Truck Village exit and then towards the Black Butte Lookout road. A closed barrier stopped my progress. Return back to I5 and next exit (Abrams Lake); no luck again. Finally got to Mt Shasta City and the Everitt Memorial HIghway. GPS did NOT tell me to turn Left on Black Butte road...so I continue a bit more than a mile where I took a left turn as instructed. Thanks for my Pathfinder, I negotiated the somewhat bumpy forest roads (even after getting stuck for a minute in a ditch)... only to rejoin Black Butte trail road and, from there, a fairly smooth sailing all the way to the trail-head. Since it was early (7:30am) I was first on site and parked right at the trail-head (there are about 4 or 5 spots). Otherwise, you will have to park .5 miles below.
On the trail....Kevin Fliflet got it right: there are many sections on the trail (specially after the first mile) where the trail goes through loose rocks; a combination of sure footing and good ankle support is really welcome. The trail goes 180 degrees around the North side of the butte with a reasonable amount of shade. Then it turns left for another 180 or so. That second section is where you'll enjoy navigating a good amount of lava rocks from fist size to microwave size. The going is a bit less easy of course. The last section -- to the top -- follows a short series of switchbacks on the North-West side. The top start with a rather flat section leading to a 30 foot "spine" ending at the foundation of an old fire lookout. When I got there, the winds were rather fierce and negotiating the spine was a bit less than a "walk in the park".
I gave the trail 5 stars quite unsurprisingly because of the stunning views of Mt Shasta to the East, of Mt Eddy to the West, of Mt McLoughlin on the Northers horizon and the whole Shasta plateau and Shasta Trinity wilderness.
I'm not a big fan of hiking shoes but this is a trail where I would highly recommend them. It's not the most difficult climb but there are a lot of loose rocks that you'll be walking on and the ankle supports would really help. I had to be pretty careful hiking so that I didn't roll an ankle.
I would also recommend starting this hike pretty early because theres not a lot of shade offered, at least during the summer.
At the end of the trail there's the remains of a lookout tower which is kinda cool to climb into, though there are some pesky bugs that are territorial of it.
Finally, make sure you drive a rugged vehicle on your way to the trailhead because it's at the end of a twenty min very bumpy gravel road.