Sierra Buttes Lookout Trail

HARD 330 reviews
#7 of 196 trails in

Sierra Buttes Lookout Trail is a 4.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Sierra City, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and running and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 4.8 miles Elevation Gain: 1,548 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dog friendly

hiking

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.

walking
18 days ago

Great hike! my favorite thus far. steep incline, everyone on the trail were very helpful and kind. Take breaks as you go up, it is a work out for sure but definetly worth it!

hiking
1 month ago

Completed Nov 24, 2019. (no snow yet - it's late to snow this year). Beautiful hike. Word to the wise, STAY LEFT on the trail! I followed the PCT to the OHV trail, and it was not as pretty, and a nightmare to climb up because it was straight up at maybe 40 degree incline. At the tower, I met a lovely local couple who told me the right way back down. Much more beautiful and a more gradual incline/decline with the switchbacks. So, from the trailhead on Butcher Ranch Road, when you come to a spot where you can go right and follow the PCT or go straight, go straight, and continue to stay to the left. There will be side trails, but just keep to the left. Be sure to look back/take photos on your way up to remember how to come back down. Even with my trail snafu, I loved this hike and can't wait to do it again!! The pucker factor on the stairs is strong, even if you're not afraid of heights, but it's worth it!!

hiking
3 months ago

Great hike. Hard on my knees coming down but I loved it. Views incredible

hiking
3 months ago

Directions from the description were perfect. We chose the perfect weekend for the trail and conquered it completely. The hike starts very steep and then is more moderate in the middle. If you do this hike and don’t climb the stairs at the end then don’t even begin in the first place. We had snow, sun, falling leaves, brisk air, slick ice, friendly people, and an amazing experience.

hiking
3 months ago

I hiked it 10/5/19 after it snowed earlier in the week. Most has melted off, with just a few slushy spots. Great views from the top! It is a steady climb to the top, but the quad burner is the stairs at the end.

hiking
3 months ago

Hiked this 10.5.19. One of my favorite hikes! Little snow in shaded spots but nothing that’s gonna make you lose the trail or be much of a problem.

hiking
muddy
rocky
snow
3 months ago

I LOVED this trail! So beautiful! A hidden treasure! I was surprised by the snow but I was prepared! Well marked trail. I came across very curtious bikers. TBH I liked them around making noise scaring off bears! It was a clear sunny beautiful October day! Can’t wait to come back and plan to spend more time at the top!!!

hiking
3 months ago

Great with a dog, except he couldn’t do the stairs at the end... too steep (1 year old German Shepherd). It was fine, my husband I just took turns at the end. Pretty fast a little over an hour each way if you are keeping a good pace and not really stopping. Views are beautiful!

hiking
3 months ago

Glorious day and hike. Lassen and Shasta clearly visible from the lookout. However snow is on the way.

hiking
3 months ago

Absolutely beautiful hike, tough but doable if you take breaks when you need to. I’d give it 5 stars if not for the mountain bikers that fly down the hill at about 30 mph expecting the hikers to dodge them. I moved as far to the side of the trail as I could get without falling over the side, but one bike sprayed me with 2-3 inch rocks as he skidded around the switchback. The tower views are completely worth the big uphill . If you’re afraid of heights, or get vertigo then skip the tower.

hiking
3 months ago

Good workout, feeding your mind, Love this hike

hiking
4 months ago

Was a very fun hike with great views, lots of nice people hiking that day. Be aware of moutain bikers riding down.

hiking
rocky
4 months ago

This hike is awesome. My only complaint is that there wasn't a speaker at the lookout playing "Eye of the Tiger" when we reached the top. You will feel like a rockstar after completing this hike. The hike is rated moderate, but I feel it should be rated hard. As gorgeous as the views are (and they are) you will be overcome with pride while looking down the Mtn side that you just hiked up. I loved this hike and all the feels that I got doing it.

hiking
4 months ago

Great hike. Awesome views. Dog friendly up until the steps and then it's kinda sketchy. Pucker factor is high on the stairs if you are afraid of heights.

hiking
no shade
rocky
4 months ago

Not what I was expecting. I'll bring my 4wheel drive next time. Wasted a lot of time and energy walking up an OHV, dusty, rocky, dusty, full sun road.

hiking
4 months ago

fun hike with steep stairs at the top. wonderful views at the top. could even see mt lassen!

hiking
4 months ago

I arrived around 8:00 and didn’t see anyone until I was on my way down. There is quite a bit of sun, so it felt warmer than it was so I doubly recommend an early start. It was very beautiful though. It’s steep, but very doable as long as you take breaks and go at your own pace.

hiking
rocky
4 months ago

Amazing trail with amazing views. Maybe a bit more strenuous for your casual hiker. Definitely start early as it gets warm towards mid-day. Beautiful views from the top but we aware that the summit is only accessible by a set of extremely steep stairs. I went with my pet and she was too scared to go to the top.

hiking
blowdown
bridge out
bugs
no shade
off trail
scramble
4 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

A little tricky for beginners, but with breaks it’s manageable. The view is definitely worth it!

hiking
rocky
5 months ago

hiking
no shade
5 months ago

Amazing views at the top!

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