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Prospect Peak Trail

 4.4 (5)

Gradual but strenuous forest climb that rewards one with absolutely awesome views.

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Point to Point

8,320' 2,536 m


6,121' 1,866 m


2,200' 670 m


43' 13 m



Avg Grade (8°)


Max Grade (14°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Geological Significance · Views · Wildlife


Prospect Peak Trail takes one to the top of Prospect Peak, an ancient shield volcano. At 8,338 ft. tall, there are great views from the peak.

Prospect Peak Trail begins 0.4 miles from Butte Lake Campground. A trail sign pointing the way to East Prospect Peak marks the start of this trail. Head west in the fir forest here to begin hiking to the top of Prospect Peak. Most of the trail is in the forest as the trail climbs continually and gradually.

At first there is very little ground cover, but as the trail gains altitude, beautiful bright green pinemat manzanita covers the ground. It is a very pretty forest, although only teaser views of the surrounding mountains give a hint of what's to come.

At the 2.8 mile mark, about a half mile before the trail ends, the trail breaks out of the trees and circles around the summit on the southern slopes of Prospect Peak. And the views emerge, and OMG, what views they are - Lassen Peak, Chaos Crags, Cinder Cone, Snag Lake, Red Cinder and Red Cinder Cone, Mt. Harkness and more. As the trail rounds a bend to the north, views to the northwest are seen, all the way to the flat lands. As a bonus, Mt. Shasta, 14,179 ft., over 70 miles away is visible.

The trail ends at a USGS benchmark on the northwest side of Prospect Peak. The top of Prospect Peak is relatively flat and covered with thin fir forest and brush, making it easy to explore further. There is a nice view of Butte Lake and hills into the distance to the northeast if one continues on a short ways.

Flora & Fauna

Thin fir forest. Ground cover is pinemat manzanita in places towards the top, and brushy on the top. Deer live here.


Shared By:

Joan Pendleton

Trail Ratings

  4.4 from 5 votes


in Butte Lake


  4.4 from 5 votes
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in Butte Lake


in California


2 Views Last Month
292 Since Jun 29, 2021



Looking southeast from the top of Prospect Peak, one can look into Cinder Cone below (center lower left). On the horizon are Red Cinder and Red CInder Cone (right center). Snag Lake (right) with Mt Hoffman nearby, behind it, are also seen.
Jun 30, 2021 near Chester, CA
Looking northwest from the top of Prospect Peak, in the far distance, over 70 miles away, is Mt. Shasta, 14,179 ft. (just left of center).
Jun 30, 2021 near Chester, CA
East-southeast from the top of Prospect Peak: Butte Lake below and beautiful forested hills stretching forever into the distance.
Jun 30, 2021 near Chester, CA
Looking southwest from the top of Prospect Peak: Lassen Peak (center), Chaos Crags (right center), and probably Mt. Conrad and Brokeoff Mountain (left center) in the far distance.
Jun 30, 2021 near Chester, CA
Prospect Peak is a relatively mildly sloped ancient shield volcano, now beautifully forested with firs and bright green pinemat manzanita ground cover.
Jun 30, 2021 near Chester, CA
Close to the top of Prospect Peak, the trail breaks out of the forest to reveal absolutely awesome views in all directions.
Jun 30, 2021 near Chester, CA



Current Trail Conditions

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All Clear 84 days ago See History
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Jun 23, 2021
Joan Pendleton
Jul 5, 2020
Good trail, lots of black sand and gradual incline, all forest, great view at top
Jun 23, 2019
JP Reddy
Jun 3, 2018
Lee H
Jul 15, 2016
Chun Yang