Morena Butte Trail

HARD 28 reviews
#2 of 6 trails in

Morena Butte Trail is a 5.4 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Morena Village, California that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

5.4 miles
1,190 feet
Out & Back

dog friendly



nature trips

rock climbing

trail running







Easy hike until you reach the turn off of the PCT then it starts to climb. Be sure to follow the cairns or you can get turned around towards the top. The summit has beautiful 360 views. The track stops at the bottom of the trail where it starts to climb. My phone battery died. Be adventurous!

3 months ago

Beautiful hike in the beginning, but after you hit the summit and then decend it gets incredibly rocky and tough. Climbing up the south side of the mountain after camping in the valley was really tough for me.

At the bottom of the valley go past the gate and walk approximately 2 more miles and hit a small waterfall. We heard tons of frogs and had a delightful sleep amongst them. But let me repeat, hiking up that south side of the mountain was really tough. Worth it to sleep among the frogs and waterfall however. I gave this a three star only because I found this hike so difficult.

5 months ago

Really lovely hike, with lots of different options for various levels. We didn’t make it to the top, since our dog was getting nervous on the granite, but we will be back. We did find several small, dark ticks along the trail, so vigilant checking is advised.

5 months ago

We experienced Many Ticks, so protect yourself accordingly;
Otherwise, this is a peaceful area to explore!

We made it to the cables but had to turn back just past as our dog was unable to continue due to the incline of the scramble; she is an experienced trail dog so if you are headed to the summit - leave your pets behind.

There are many other areas to explore such as the meadow and the ruins around the loop trial if the summit proves too much; this area is great for dogs.

We will be back!

8 months ago

A great hike for couples. If after this hike you are still talking to each other you'll probably do OK as a married couple.

Unless you are are into whips and scratches, you'd best be leaving the shorts at home. This ain't no walk in the park... You will be scratched, bruised and likely lose a bit of blood before the rock summit.

This hike has a lot of challenges.

1. The route shown on AllTrails in red is a bit off, so it may seem as though you are on the wrong trail at first. Note the piles of rock you'll pass on the side of the road as you go. Others have learned this lesson...

2. Once you get past the dam west side of the lake, look south-west about 20 yards and you'll find some heavy metal cables (about 4" thick). That's where you'll begin your first bit of climbing up to the butte.

3. From there, go directly south, follow as many of the rock cairns as you can. Though you'll likely end up having to make your own trail through some of the brush before you reach your choice of high point vistas (there are a few to choose from—you'll see...).

[At about this point in the hike, I suspect you'll wish you hadn't worn those sexy walk in the park shorts]

4. You'll have a few high point choices to trek too. The high rocks on your left are the actual Butte, with some nice views of the lake. The high rocks on the right looked more appealing to us at the time, so we chose that view instead. We made it!

Total round trip time was a bit less than 5 hours.

Tally wearing pants:
- bruises between the two of us: 3
- Manzanita branch stab marks: 2
- and noticeable scratches: 8


9 months ago

Wonderful views at the top but very hard hike. Easy to loose the trail. every once in a while you will see were someone has marked the trail with piles of small rock. The incline up to the top is steep with rock climbing straight up.

9 months ago

not dog friendly on certain spots. vertical rock climbing. def not for the faint of heart but it has a lovely view!!

9 months ago

Directions on All Trails are good, leads to a small parking area at trailhead. That being said, you MUST pay attention to red GPS trail in the APP to locate place where you leave the reservoir road trail and head up. The trail is extremely overgrown and very hard to track. We managed to do so ONLY by using the red lines on the map and the rock totems that people had left previously. Very challenging portion basically rock climbing up a cliff is included, so don't do this hike if you don't have solid upper body strength. Trail is VERY overgrown so also wear long pants, we got scratched to bits. Upside is a gorgeous trail, gorgeous views from the butte and all along trail of the lake. Was about 6 miles RT per our GPS tracking. Enjoy!

Monday, March 20, 2017

The route on the map does not follow the route in the description for this hike. Park on the dirt road where the PCT Trail hits Lake Morena Drive. Follow the PCT trail south until you hit the ridge line on the south side of Morena Butte. Follow the cairns to the summit. The view is worth the effort. It's further than the 5.4 miles listed here. it's 3 miles just to the ridge, that alone puts it at 6 miles there and back. Probably a mile and a half from there to the peak, that's just a guesstimate though. I'd plan for 10 miles there and back just to be safe.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

A great hike! Steep all the way up to the top.... those views though! Amazing!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Yesterday, we kike this challenging and thrilling trail; the famous Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and Morena Butte Trail. The PCT leading up to the Morena Butte was steady, but once we started trekking up the Morena Butte Trail, the category changed to hard. It was steep all the way up. But before we started the Morena Butte Trail, we were honored to bump into an 18-year kid, Tanner M., fresh out of high school and completing the last section of the PCT to Mexico Border from Canada. Back to the trail, bushwhacking and a boulder maneuvering, and trail markers really helped to get our bearings towards the top and peak log. We were excited to locate and sign the peak log. Total hiking mileage was 10-plus mileage, bot 5.4 miles as stated in the summary.

Monday, August 29, 2016

This was a very challenging trail for me. I followed David's ribbons and some stacked rocks along the trail when you start going up. The picture that shows a small tree truck with bushes and dried grass that is what I put as a marker to start heading up from the service road. You will have to jump over some tree trunks, whack some bushes and step on some long dry wheats. Make sure you are fully covered with long pants and a long sleeve shirt because you will get a lot of the dry leafs all over you. You will get to a nice view that will over see the lake, BUT that is NOT the peak. Keep going left for another mile. The peak is where you will see this flat huge rock with an amazing view overlooking mountain peaks. Bring lots of water and snacks. Good luck and enjoy.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

The cut off for the summit is quite overgrown and difficult to navigate. The route to the top requires some boulder hopping and a little scrambling. 3 summits for the price of one. The track I uploaded has the whole hike. Follow the ducks and the orange ribbon in the trees.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Great hike. Fun climbing. Stellar views. Check out the helpful link below for I used this information as a guide for this hike. It's very descriptive. Enjoy!

Monday, November 04, 2013

The Trail created stops at the bottom of the climb about halfway thru. My phone battery died. Enjoy

3 months ago

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Saturday, September 03, 2016

recorded Morena Butte Trail

Saturday, April 23, 2016