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Exposed trail to the top of a cinder cone with commanding views of the surrounding wilderness.


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Map Key

1.5

Miles

2.4

KM

Out and Back

5,286' 1,611 m

High

4,826' 1,471 m

Low

460' 140 m

Up

457' 139 m

Down

12%

Avg Grade (7°)

24%

Max Grade (14°)

Dogs Unknown

Features Views · Wildflowers

Family Friendly 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.

Overview

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!

Description

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.

Contacts

Shared By:

Quin TCM

Trail Ratings

  3.6 from 5 votes

#4701

Overall
  3.6 from 5 votes
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Recommended Route Rankings

#645

in California

#4,701

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1 Views Last Month
516 Since Jul 20, 2015
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Photos

Hiking Down Schonchin Butte.
Feb 2, 2016 near Tulelake, CA
The fire lookout sits at the summit atop lava splatters.
May 21, 2016 near Tulelake, CA
The trail is steep, but short enough that younger hikers have no problem. Tule Lake is visible in the distance.
May 21, 2016 near Tulelake, CA
Enjoying the view from the Schonchin Butte fire tower.
Dec 5, 2023 near Tulelake, CA

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Weather


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Check-Ins

May 4, 2018
BK Hope
Nov 19, 2016
David Hitchcock
Hiked up and back, very windy on top, and chilly. Amazing 360 view of the monument and surrounding landscape. Saw deer, jack rabbits. 1.5mi
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