Sierra Buttes Lookout Trail

MODERATE 72 reviews
#7 of 114 trails in

Sierra Buttes Lookout Trail is a 5.1 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Sierra City, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and trail running and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
5.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1594 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

hiking

trail running

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

Views of three lakes to fire lookout where you can see the Sacramento Valley. Trailhead is about 1/4 to 1/2 mile after the end of paved road. Beyond trailhead is OHV-only. Trail is mostly uphill but not too steep with plenty of flat ground. As you approach the first ridge, you'll see wildflowers & butterflies galore. Around the bend are the Tamarack Lakes, reflecting the sky, clouds, & trees. A little ways farther is Young America lake, which is just as reflective. Finally, you'll meet up with the 4WD trail that has 4 or 5 switchbacks, and finally reach the bottom of the lookout tower. If you're afraid of heights, you might not want to climb, but if not, be prepared for the views! Approximately 200 steps later, you'll be atop the lookout tower, with 360-degree views of the entire Sacramento Valley. On clear days you can see as far as Lassen! You also have a wonderful view of Upper & Lower Sardine Lake.

hiking
3 days ago

4 days ago

It was harder at the top but the hike was worth the view.

hiking
5 days ago

hiking
6 days ago

11 days ago

hiking
11 days ago

hiking
13 days ago

15 days ago

Amazing hike with gorgeous views. Starts off very steep, so be ready to ascend almost 2000 ft.

Lots of shade in the morning, but much less on the way down in the afternoon hours.

Be sure to pack plenty of snacks and water.

Enjoy! It's worth the trek.

hiking
18 days ago

Amazing view of The Valley below, plenty of shade on the way up.

18 days ago

Well worth it.

hiking
19 days ago

19 days ago

hiking
24 days ago

Phew!!! That was a lot of uphill. But totally worth every breath stealing, thigh burning step!

hiking
25 days ago

hiking
26 days ago

The road there was s a bit long for me. When I arrived I saw this little forest fire watch tower on top of the nearest peak and thought the hike must stop somewhere short of that far away place; but as the hike progressed I saw that indeed that peak is a mere 2.5 miles from the parking lot. It looks so much more daunting that it actually is, though the hike is quite steep in certain spots so gets the blood moving a bit. (All the better.) I certainly would call it unusually steep however. I was surprised at how quickly the walk was done. At the top, that stairway surprised me by taking my breath away. Apparently I can fear heights under visually bracing situations. The tower is seriously perched on quite a precipice, and those stairs seem to put my body up where it was never meant to be. Ha. Very much worth it though. A bit of terror is good for the soul. Ha

hiking
29 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Wow this is quite an amazing trail! The top of the lookout point affords the most stunning views- I quite recommend this trail to everyone.

I think the directions to the trailhead need to be a bit updated- you should see signs for the Pacific Crest Trail at the trailhead as well. We actually started at the Tamarack Lakes trailhead and eventually connected to the Sierra Buttes trail, but it added a few extra miles to our trip.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago