Summary: Trailhead is about 1/4 to 1/2 mile after the end of paved road. Beyond trailhead is OHV-only. Trail is mostly uphill but not too steep with plenty of flat ground. As you approach the first ridge, you'll see wildflowers & butterflies galore. Around the bend are the Tamarack Lakes, reflecting the sky, clouds, & trees. A little ways farther is Young America lake, which is just as reflective. Finally, you'll meet up with the 4WD trail that has 4 or 5 switchbacks, and finally reach the bottom of the lookout tower. If you're afraid of heights, you might not want to climb, but if not, be prepared for the views! Approximately 200 steps later, you'll be atop the lookout tower, with 360-degree views of the entire Sacramento Valley. On clear days you can see as far as Lassen! You also have a wonderful view of Upper & Lower Sardine Lake.
Trailhead: Highway 80 to Truckee. Exit Highway 89 north to Sierraville. Highway 49 west 10 miles to Bassetts. North on the Gold Lake Highway and 1.5 miles to Sardine Lake/Packer Lake Road. Turn left, cross small bridge, and bear right on Packer Lake Road. Pass Packer Lake and bear left at fork. Follow signs to Pacific Crest Trail trailhead. Continue to small parking area.
Trail Guides for Sierra Buttes Lookout From PCT Trailhead:
101 Hikes in Northern California
by Matt Heid (Wilderness Press)
Feather River Country Adventure Trails
by Tom DeMund (Know DeFeet Publishing Company)
Foghorn Outdoors California Hiking
by Tom Stienstra & Ann Marie Brown (Foghorn Outdoors)
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Summer,
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs,
Ranger Contact: North Yuba Visitor Center, 1-530-288-3232
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Greg Chance, who has posted 8 other hikes on this site. To visit this reporters web site, click here.
Trail Reviews Page 1 of 2 Submit your own review
Reviewed by Viewer on 9/18/2011
This is a great hike anytime from July through October. Check the local weather for forecasts of thunderstorms, and if predicted, postpone to another day or year. I have done this many times and I still tremble a bit as I climb the stairs, but they are perfectly safe. As someone else said, Go For It!
Reviewed by Paul on 8/24/2010
Very nice trail but I got lost for awhile the 5 mile hike turned into 8 mile hike because the trail to the Lookout is not well marked, I saw a mountain ahead but it was the wrong mountain, the Ranger told me that the top of the a log on the ground points you the right way but how would you know that? It looks a lot worst in the pictures then in real life, the stairs are not hard at all if your not afraid of heights It is a little steep going up the trail but almost downhill on the way down Overall worth going I stayed a Harrinton's Resort outside Sierra City it was nice and peaceful and great trout for dinner, they have there own trout pond
Reviewed by Stuart on 9/27/2009
Reviewed by KR on 7/20/2009
Great hike. Try starting from the Tamarack Lake trailhead. Make it a 8 mile round trip. Weel wortht he effort for the views at the top nad along the way. P.S the lake in your picture are America Lake, Upper and Lower Sardine Lakes.
Reviewed by CS on 6/16/2009
My wife and I attempted this hike today, but we turned back shortly before reaching the lookout tower due to thunderstorms overhead. I would recommend you arrive earlier in the morning to avoid thunderstorms in the summer. It takes about 1 hr after leaving HWY 80 to reach the trailhead, so plan ahead! We heard our first thunder around 1:30PM. I definitely plan on going back in order to reach the lookout tower! Also, the Lat/Long coordinates listed above are incorrect.
Reviewed by Wanda on 1/13/2009
Loved this hike! I am a novice hiker (and over 50), and while it was challenging at times, it was spectacular! It took my breath away on many levels!! We stayed for the sunset - amazing views. Just take your time and know that it isn't all as difficult as some areas will be. Top 10 things I have ever done. We stayed at the rustic cabins at Gold Lake Lodge and while rustic is understated, the food and staff were great. When we were late returning from our hike due to "doddle-ing" on the way back at sunset - they greeted us and made sure all was o.k. and got us food even though we missed dinner time. BUY/WEAR GOOD HIKING BOOTS - like from REI. Made all the difference.
Reviewed by Kristin on 9/2/2008
This was a FANTASTIC hike. Our family did it - took us about 3 hours (very slow) to get to top and 1 hour to get back down. Worth every bit of sweat!! Very scary going up the steps to the look-out. You can't go all that way and not go up on it. JUST DO IT!! You'll be glad you did.
Reviewed by gene on 7/4/2008
love this hike. wonderful.
Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
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