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A short hike up to a fire lookout tower with stunning views across the Sierra Nevada.


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Map Key

4.8

Miles

7.7

KM

Out and Back

8,461' 2,579 m

High

7,001' 2,134 m

Low

1,494' 455 m

Up

1,493' 455 m

Down

12%

Avg Grade (7°)

30%

Max Grade (16°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Birding · Lake · Views

Overview

This hike offers some of the most spectacular views across the Sierra Nevada. The fire lookout tower at the top of Sierra Buttes is still manned during the summer when fire danger is high. Its location is unique with views reaching as far as Mount Shasta. But you don't need to look far to see beauty. Upper and Lower Sardine Lake are just below Sierra Buttes and equally stunning.

Description

The hike starts at the Sierra Buttes Trailhead off Butcher Ranch Road and follows the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) for about a mile. PCT turns right but you continue straight up the ridge on Sierra Buttes Trail #12E07. The ascent gets more and more moderate as you make your way up to the top. At about 1.5 miles, you get an excellent view of Young America Lake just below you.

As you continue further, the trail zigzags up steeply. At 2.0 miles, you reach a fairly washed out dirt road (Sierra Buttes OHV Trail #12E07). Follow the road farther up until you reach the lookout tower. The views in any direction are just breathtaking. You can climb up the metal stairs and walk around the tower to get even better views.

Contacts

Shared By:

Tilman Giese

Trail Ratings

  4.9 from 9 votes

#1

in Gold Valley

#820

Overall
  4.9 from 9 votes
5 Star
89%
4 Star
11%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
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1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#1

in Gold Valley

#134

in California

#820

Overall
17 Views Last Month
3,735 Since Mar 20, 2019
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult

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Photos

Young America Lake (front), Upper Sardine Lake (middle), and Lower Sardine Lake (back)
Mar 22, 2019 near Downiev…, CA
Young America Lake is surrounded by steep, rocky spires
Mar 22, 2019 near Downiev…, CA
Far reaching views from Sierra Buttes Fire Lookout
Mar 22, 2019 near Downiev…, CA
Lower Sardine Lake from the ascent up Sierra Buttes
Mar 22, 2019 near Downiev…, CA
Upper and Lower Sardine Lake from Sierra Buttes Fire Lookout.
Mar 22, 2019 near Downiev…, CA
Southwestern view from Sierra Buttes across Tahoe National Forest
Mar 22, 2019 near Downiev…, CA

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