A great hike up a cinder cone volcano that offers commanding views of the surrounding wilderness. Everyone loves volcanoes and this is an excellent way to gain some elevation without too much effort.
Stay on the trail and do not shortcut the switchbacks. Cinder cones scar very easily.
A hike to the historic Schonchin Butte Fire Lookout is well worth the effort! Imagine the effort required by the Civilian Conservation Corps crew that not only carried up by hand all the materials needed to build the lookout, but first had to build the trail itself!
You can't miss Schonchin Butte sticking out in the middle of the park! To access the trailhead, turn onto a dirt road that is located just north of the road leading to Merrill Cave on the east side of the main park road. The road is marked by a large sign. Follow the road to where it ends and park. The trailhead is located across from the parking area at the base of Schonchin Butte.
The trail immediately begins to gain elevation and is exposed for its entire duration. After hiking west for maybe .4 miles, the trail turns east for a short distance before again turning west right before the top. At the top of the cinder cone is the Schonchin Butte Fire Lookout that was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps. During summer months, a firefighter is on duty and can provide information as well as administer a a Junior Fire Lookout program for kids. Make your way around the top of the cinder cone and soak in some of the views before heading back down.