Butler Peak Trail

MODERATE 69 reviews

Butler Peak Trail is a 9.1 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Big Bear City, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
9.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,532 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

off road driving

trail running

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

snow

off road driving
26 days ago

Drove this road in a stock Tacoma Off-Road. Only a couple sections where the 4WD was really needed. Lots of switchbacks and ruts. The view from the top was awesome. We had a really clear day and could see for miles and miles. If you’re in Big Bear definitely take this trail.

hiking
28 days ago

What a great trail! The gate was open so we drove in for about a mile so our entire hike was closer to seven miles, instead of ten. We parked on the side of the road in a dirt patch and then hiked the rest of the way. There were several cars passing us along the trail. It is a fire road the whole way up and then there is a trail through the rocks to get to the lookout. The trail isn't too steep. No one was was there when we got up there. Really great views all around.

hiking
1 month ago

This is a really good hike. Only reason why I give it 4 stars is because it’s all fire road until you get to the Ranger Station then it’s a short scramble up some switchbacks to a really cool lookout point. Would be perfect if it had a little more varied terrain. I went very early on a weekday morning and it was desolate. Didn’t see another soul the entire time. Very good workout and steady elevation gain. This is an excellent hike if your training for something more substantial as well. Worth the trip for sure. I parked at the very head of the trail but there are some areas you can park once you enter onto the road. I assume you probably need an adventure pass as well. The GPS directions lead you right to the base of the fire road/Trail. Rewarding views from the top!

hiking
1 month ago

Great views and it helped having trees for shade when we needed it. We got up partial way in our car and hiked the rest. Volunteer rangers at the top were really friendly and loved talking about the terrain. I highly recommend this hike.

off road driving
1 month ago

Super easy trail. Don’t even need 4wd. Just a standard truck with decent ground clearance can make it through if you keep the momentum going on the longer rocky parts.

off road driving
1 month ago

Very easy trail with nice views. 4wd not necessary.

off road driving
2 months ago

Awesome trail for beginners! Made it up no problem with stock 4x4 4Runner with all terrain tires. The volunteer at the tower said rains from a couple weeks ago rutted our the trail more than usual. Great viewpoints and so glad we checked it out while in big bear. Trail can get tight and by all the reviews seems it is pretty popular. Luckily we didn’t see one person going either way on a early Friday morning.

2 months ago

Great trail with great views! Also take it slow around the sharp turns since it gets pretty narrow

2 months ago

Excellent hike from the base gate up.
Take the time and talk with the volunteers in the tower. They have a lot of great area information and can point out some great sites to see.

hiking
3 months ago

Just did Butler Peak this morning. Very beautiful hike all the way up to the peak. Nice gradual climb, nothing too crazy. Once you're up, amazing views of Arrowhead, Big bear, Snow valley, and the High desert.

hiking
4 months ago

Amazing views!! road is currently blocked so looking at around a 6-7 mile hike up then back down. Not for the faint hearted but absolutely worth it! incredible views and got it all to ourselves it was perfect.

hiking
5 months ago

Honestly this is one of my favorite hikes around Big Bear. Went up yesterday, about 10 miles. Parked at the blocked gate at the end of Rim of the World rd for free. Beautiful views, well maintained fire lookout. Chilly and windy up top but SO worth the view! Still some snow on the trail but won’t last long.

trail running
7 months ago

Took the butler peak trail. Trail running. Closed to cars. Amazing. Soft. Lil snowy. Epic views. And the tower. Just an incredible end to 5 miles up. Loved it.

hiking
8 months ago

Lots of trucks and jeeps. Be careful with traffic. Start early during summer months. Pretty view once you get to the top.

9 months ago

very very easy offroad trail. nice views though

9 months ago

Fun Hike
I parked a but further out so it was over 10 miles.
A few Jeeps kicked up the dust but definitely fun hike and worth the views!

off road driving
10 months ago

Great views and good off road experience.

recommendation: take a map.

off road driving
10 months ago

fun very easy trail , great view

off road driving
Sunday, July 30, 2017

The trail to Butler Peak is pretty standard, easy for driving. I was able to make it through the whole trail without having to go into 4WD, high clearance vehicle still required. The views are beautiful and the views from the Fire Watch Tower at the end of the trail is one of the best mountain views you can get in the area.

hiking
Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Hiked it. Fire road so a lot of vehicles.

off road driving
Monday, November 28, 2016

We went up there on a snowy day and had a blast!

off road driving
Saturday, November 26, 2016

This trail was fantastic. Late November, snow on the ground and we explored attached Forest Service roads. It made for a great time with beautiful sights to see. Absolutely recommend - but be careful, if you find yourself on the wrong trail it could just be your last one (at least with that vehicle!)

off road driving
Monday, October 31, 2016

Trail is actually a fire road leading to the fire lookout. You'll need a 4x4 to drive it and not risk damaging your suspension. Watch for boulders blocking the road and cross fingers you don't bump into anyone coming the opposite direction as it's one lane with many drop off points.

Like others have said the views from the fire lookout are epic. There's several picture taking points as you work your way to the top along with several rock formations.

A recommended destination no matter how you get there.

off road driving
Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Butler Peak provides some pretty epic views of various points in the San Bernardino National Forest. The best views can be seen from the fire lookout at the top of the peak. There are, however, some nice views and scenery to experience at the base of the peak.

The peak tends to be a bit windy, so I'd suggested you bring a light jacket when hiking there in the fall/spring.

One last point to consider, that a fire swept through this area a little less than 10 years ago, so some of the greenery is still recovering.

hiking
Friday, June 17, 2016

The view from Butler Peak at the fire lookout station was one of the best I have ever seen. I'm from the east coast and do most of my hiking/backpacking in the Appalachian trail. This is a totally different experience, and absolutely incredible. If you have the time to go, do it.

hiking
Monday, July 20, 2015

An easy dirt road drive to the gate then a easy road to follow to the fire tower. We got rained on hard on the way down and avoided lightning, but really enjoyed the views of the Big Bear basin and beyond.

mountain biking
Friday, June 19, 2015

Most of the view on the way is nothing spectacular, a lot of logging. Toward the top, the rock formations are interesting, and you're going through a section of forest recovering from a major forest fire. However, the view from the very top -- the deck of the forest fire lookout station -- is the most spectacular I've seen in a lot of Big Bear hiking and cycling to date. The view is more than 8500 feet up at the deck, and looks down on the road coming into Big Bear, the San Gorgonio wilderness, Snow Valley ski area, and the wilderness north. I've cycled it three times. Quite a challenging uphill the last mile. Pushed the bike the last 1,000 feet of the forest service road.

hiking
Friday, August 29, 2014

The trail follows a road all the way to a fire look out station. Make sure you go left at the fork, the maps provided by the rangers is mislabeled and will take you the wrong way. it took us 3 1/2 hours because of the detour.

hiking
Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Went up this morning from Grays Peak trailhead. Last chance to go up, the trail closes on November 1st until April. Had the trail all to myself both ways. When I got to the peak there were 2 mountain bikers there. Did the punch card and took pictures before heading back. Found some nice rocks off the side of the trail to have lunch and to my surprise, I see a metal shelter totally hidden from view. That was cool.
My gps said I was at 8484' elevation on the peak. I went 12.83 miles at a 3.1 mph average. It took me 5 hours, 10 minutes total. My total ascent was 2586'.
What a great day for a hike,, can't wait to do it again.

hiking
Monday, October 08, 2012

My friend Ron came up for the weekend and this was the 1st of 3 peaks in 3 days. We headed out on Grays peak trailhead and took the control roads most of the way up. Made it to the fire lookout tower before heading back and having lunch off the trail. Great hike.

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