Explore the most popular trails near Sierra City with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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dog friendly

forest

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wild flowers

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kid friendly

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The trail is pretty steep for most of the hike. I would rate that part hard. The quality of the trail is good though.

Beautiful vistas, especially from the top of the fire tower! A steady climb the whole way up, but not horrible. We even had a very light snow shower on the way back down. One of my new favorite hikes!

Beautiful hike. Wouldn’t recommend bringing big dogs, the stairs are pretty sketchy for them to get up. Uphill the whole way but it goes by quick. Great views.

9/15/2018: Our group including 5 adults and 3 kids (ages about 5-11) all wearing regular shoes, made the trip up and back with time to stop for lunch and views in about 5 hours. It was a stunning day to be outside as it was nice and brisk but sunny. Bring a windbreaker though- it was downright COLD with the wind up near the top and out of the tree line.
Side note: It's been several days since our hike and my calves are still barking! As others said, it isn't overly steep, but it'll still get ya!
We'll definitely be headed back! (I heard the flowers are lovely mid-summer!)

Very beautiful, but hard. There are multiple starting points to reach the Sierra Buttes look out but starting from Sardine Lake area you take the Tamarack Lake Trailhead that is on the right before you reach the campground based on the directions from the app and then continue past Upper Tamarack Lake towards the lookout. My friends pedometer clocked us just under 14 miles round trip for this hike. My dog was a champ but the trail is very rocky and she was unable to do the stairs up to the lookout at the end, so hiking with a buddy is helpful so one can go up and enjoy the look out while one stays with the dog - then swap so you both get to enjoy the beauty at the end of the uphill climb. Hike is very hard, but very rewarding! Bring LOTS of water!

Amazing! Can't get a view like it anywhere else.

backpacking
1 month ago

This is my first post so I apologize if I forget to include any info. I backpacked & camped with z group of 5 people for 3 nights at Upper Sardine lake. Got there via the Mono Pass Trail that starts off at Tioga road from the east entrance of Yosemite. Not a hard trail but also not easy either, then again I’m a newbie. This was my first camping trip, never backpacked before in my life, first time to Yosemite, first time fishing, first everything and I loved it! This was the most beautiful amazing adventure I’ve ever had. From the start of the trailhead inside Yosemite to our campsite outside the park in Inyo under the trees next to the lake, the scenery was breathtaking to the point of bringing tears to my eyes, then again being my first time in the wilderness I was having a bit of sensory overload from all the beauty and the silence away from humanity. There were little to no mosquitos, saw a few deer, tons of fish in this lake, they kept jumping out of the water it was so cool! Took a day hike through Parker Pass to Parker Pass Lake which was the most beautiful color of cobalt blue I had ever seen. Throughout the duration of my stay we hardly saw another soul in sight except for a day hiker here and there. The one thing I underestimated as a newbie was the cold at night; during the day we had beautiful weather in the mid to high 70s, but at night it was in the low 30s and I suffered a bit, lol. But despite the cold at night, I enjoyed every single moment of this trip and can’t wait to go back. This trail was totally doable even for a novice like me, so don’t worry when the trail goes from easy to all uphill for about a mile and a half when you almost reach upper sardine lake, the view of Mono Lake far down below and the serenity of this place are completely worth it. This place is beyond amazing and perfect everyone.

Great hike! The stairs to the lookout are not for the vertigo challenged folk!

Beautiful small hike down to the waterfall. the trail isn't marked but the best directions was to park across the street at the PCT sign and walk across the street and the trail is right there. i hiked up the PCT trail a bit to make it a longer hike. the waterfall is worth seeing for sure and the water is an amazing emerald green..

Beautiful views even with the smoke in valley. Took my dog and she had a great time until she got to the steps. She did the first two sets but the third set she could see the valley below, they were steeper/ narrower than the others so we turned around at this point. Stunning views!!

Amazing views! I would rate this hike as hard instead of moderate Start early it gets hot.

off road driving
2 months ago

Went up Saturday morning in my 2018 Tacoma off road.
Stock no mods, all weather tires, literally got it two days ago.
Trail was well maintained. We were behind an explorer that couldn’t make it up half way. .
Lots of hikers on the trail.
Definitely a fun trip.
Upper lake was beautiful.

off road driving
2 months ago

Gorgeous lakes. My brother and I drove up to Upper Sardine. People say it’s a gnarly road up, and while Subarus won’t make it up, my mild Toyota made it up without a single scratch. I highly, highly, recommend camping at Upper Sardine... We had it to ourselves and could see the PACKED campsite at Lower Sardine from where we set up camp.

We hiked to Sierra Buttes Lookout from Upper Sardine. What an incredible hike! Highly recommend it!

hiking
2 months ago

Went early there were a bunch of family’s at the lower lakes but if ya hike up the 4 wheel rd and hang a left around the lake there’s great swimming spots with a good Mt. backdrop.

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!!

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.

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

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.

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

hiking
2 months ago

Awesome 360 degrees views. Will be back!

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.

Nice and really shaded. Really close to waterfall but can go further.

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.

The hike to Volcano lake is more like 4 miles round trip and I would rate this as more of a moderate trail than hard. The hike to the lake is up an unmaintained road. Thanks to the reviewer for the mile marker (622-1) for parking as there are no signs for the lake until you have hiked for a while. The lake is absolutely beautiful and is perfect for a short hike.

on Sardine Lakes

off road driving
3 months ago

We actually drove the trail. The beginning of the trail posts a sign that lets you know you can hike, bike or drive it. Really needs to be a 4x4 of sorts. Great drive and outstanding lakes. You start with one lake and then go up to a second lake. Amazing!

off road driving
3 months ago

Sardine lakes did not disappoint! It’s absolutely stunning, if you’re thinking about making a trip there do it! There’s campgrounds very close to the lake and there were very few people there for it being a Saturday at noon. For those who want to go to wheel up the trail, here’s some good info for you. The trail is extremely rocky, so having skid plates will help a ton. It’s also extremely skinny, and there are only a couple points to turn around. I wouldn’t recommend taking a full size truck up. I took my 03 Ranger (3” Lift, 33’s and it’s 2 wheel drive but it has a rear locker). The trail is so skinny that my truck barely fit in some parts. There’s a few big rocks that can’t be avoided that will 100% contact the underside of your truck unless you’ve got a rig on 40’s or a huge lift. I was joined at the end of the trail by a Tacoma and 4Runner (both lifted with a/t tires) and watched a nice 4x4 f150 (stock height and Tires) get pretty messed up on this trail. He had to back down about a 1/4 of the way and banged his truck up pretty good. Overall, a fun and not very challenging trail if you’ve got a decent rig and some driver skill. If you’ve got any questions you can find me on Instagram @jakeramirez99 and I’d be happy to give you any info about this trail you want.

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

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

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

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!

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