Sierra Buttes Lookout Trail

MODERATE 130 reviews
#7 of 164 trails in

Sierra Buttes Lookout Trail is a 4.9 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
4.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,555 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

hiking

trail running

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

snow

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
25 days ago

Great trail and great views. I took about 6 hours, but I like to stop and take lots of pictures! Definitely wish I had hiking poles for this hike since there was a good incline/decline! My Fitbit had me clocked at 7 miles round trip! Not a bad day!!

hiking
25 days ago

I’ve hiked this trail almost every year since middle/high school. Absolutely breathtaking views at the top with incredible (and diverse!) scenery along the way.

hiking
25 days ago

Great hike, definitely a little work out but amazing views at the top of the fire look out.

hiking
28 days ago

This hike is awesome and makes you feel so accomplished but it is a little harder than “moderate”, especially on a hot day. The first half is entirely inclined and not mildly. Make sure to bring a LOT of water and food. You won’t pass any lakes so if you have dogs make sure to pack lots of extra water for them. It is a dog friendly trail though, and my active dog loved it. The view at the lookout is truly spectacular and makes the whole hike worth it. I’d say it took us around 4 hours to complete from the lookout trailhead.

hiking
29 days ago

Stellar scenery on the way up and fantastic views at the lookout. Can't wait to do this again.

hiking
1 month ago

Awesome 360 degrees views. Will be back!

1 month ago

Finally did the hike today. Such amazing views and what a workout! All the sweat is paid off when you make it to the tower.

hiking
1 month ago

Great trail with some serious rewarding views all throughout the hike. But really brutal trail. It's a fairly steady steep incline that wears you down. We had to take frequent breaks despite being weekend hikers.

1 month ago

Great hike! Easy to follow and views galore! Don't forget the sunscreen at this high elevation. Will definitely do again❤️

1 month ago

Pretty cool hike. Dog didn’t want to go up the steps though

hiking
1 month ago

I accidentally followed one of the atv trails on the way back down and got off trail a bit but the AllTrails map got me back on track. Amazing views at the lookout

2 months ago

Great trail- good workout, mostly up and downhill, lots of variety. Shade in most parts of the trail, pretty windy at the top, so I was glad to have my puffy jacket. Follow the app directions to the trailhead, not your gps, which may lead you onto some rough OHV roads. Don’t count on cell service anywhere in the area. Saw Lassen in the distance from the fire lookout!

hiking
2 months ago

Why does the All-Trails Map look so different than Google Maps? It looks like the trailhead is off Butcher Ranch Rd. But you can hardly see it on All Trails Map.

hiking
2 months ago

Must do

2 months ago

I did this trail 5/28 it still a little snow on top. but it's possible to reach. lookout was open on this time. very windy! Amazing hike!

hiking
2 months ago

One of the most scenically impressive trails in the Sierra. A must do. Trail had plenty of snow still but was easily passable.

hiking
7 months ago

What a wonderful view! My wife and I did this day hike back in the early 1990’s and it was definitely worth it. Lots of wildflowers and bees....would recommend bringing 2 liters of water because there are no real sources to get water up there. The final section to top is completely exposed. The push up to the very top uses a staircase that leads directly to fire lookout. The stairs have an open view below....(not for people afraid of heights). There was a fire burning that day over by Truckee, but far enough away to not abstract our view. It turned out to be a pretty big fire and burned through the entire corridor around int. 80.

7 months ago

Amazing hike. Covered in snow right now. Yak tracks might be best option for walking on snow that is more like ice in parts. Needs 4 wheel drive to get up to butcher pass rd then we walked up to trailhead. Didn't make it to the top as we started our hike around 1pm. Knowing what we know now we'd probably try to aim to start the trail no later than 10am.

backpacking
8 months ago

i didn't reach the top but it was still an amazing hike. there was a lot of snow on the road preventing my car from getting to the Butte trailhead so I used the packer saddle trail. the trail is fairly difficult to surpass right now as there is snow with ice under it. the easiest way is the long way by talking the service road to the rec vehicle trail. i had to turn around by the time i found it but I'll be back!

8 months ago

Great hike! Super hard on the way up and the lookout is cool but terrifying!

hiking
9 months ago

Great hike beautiful views, didn’t care much for having mountain bikers on the trail, seems they will damage the trail. Also makes it more hazardous for hikers and dogs.

hiking
9 months ago

Incredible hike with gorgeous views. It snowed a few days before we went so the trail was a bit muddy. The fire tower is pretty awesome although it can be a challenge for those with a fear of heights.

9 months ago

Beautiful hike. Well travelled for good reason. Head out early to avoid crowds. The fire tower is simply breathtaking.

10 months ago

A little steeper than I expected but very worth the hike took us 3 hours round trip as we took quite a few breaks. the end staircase to the lookout is definitely not for anyone afraid of heights at there is about 1000 foot drop underneath the stairs! great hike though!

11 months ago

One of the best hikes I've ever done. View is worth every step uphill! A moderate 2hr out and back. Bring your camera.

hiking
11 months ago

The Sierra Buttes lookout trail was beautiful. My 8 year old struggled for the first mile having a hard time with the steepness. Even he would say it was worth it once we reached the top. The stairs made me nervous although my boys didn't seem to mind.

11 months ago

Such a beautiful hike!

11 months ago

My goodness!

Monday, August 14, 2017

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

Thursday, August 03, 2017

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.

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