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Sierra Buttes

2 Reviews
Location Sierra City, CA
Rating Easy,
Length 10mi
Time 4hrs

Vehicle Types


Incredibly fun climb from Sierra City to amazing lookout tower.

Perhaps the most enjoyable easy trail in this book when driven, as described here, from Sierra City. The drive is fun, exhilarating and very beautiful. The view from Sierra Buttes Lookout is dizzying. A steep 3/4-mile hike is required to reach the lookout. Take plenty of water, your camera and binoculars. Green-sticker vehicles may wish to start at the top where there is more room to park. Follow directions at right starting from Bassetts.



Trail Ratings Defined

A narrow shelf road that climbs steeply up the mountainside. Minor loose rocks in a few places and quite steep towards the top. Suitable for stock, high-clearance 4WD SUVs.






High Point


Best Time To Go

May- September

Current Conditions

(530) 288-3231Tahoe National Forest, Yuba River Ranger District.

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Trail Updates

Submitted by Michael
Took my wife and daughter up there yesterday (12/11/21) before the big storm. According to the forest service, there were approximately 9 to 15 inches of snow on the ground. Was a fantastic trip!!. Didn’t make it in the Jeep all the way up but, we made it the highest based on the tire tracks! In the trail review, when he says “steep” – he means “STEEP”. But I consider myself a beginner and the snow added an extra level of difficulty for my skill level. PLEASE NOTE: Neither Downieville nor Sierra City has functioning gas pumps!! We traveled from the Bay Area so we came up Highway 49 and eventually had to go all the way to Greagles to find gas. Plan on re-fueling prior to reaching these towns or make plans on traveling a little farther down the road for gas, and then backtracking to the trailhead. Happy Jeeping!!

Submitted by John
Just did this in my 2021 Tacoma TRD Off-Road. I wanted to add that this is not recommended if you care about your paint at all. Severe scratching will occur on both sides of the vehicle. It was an easy enough trail but if someone were coming down while you’re going up it would be pretty dangerous to turn around or back up on the narrow ledges.


Rate this trail on a scale of 1 to 5.


Greg says

Fun trail, the view from the top of the Buttes is dizzying and amazing. One caution, there are almost no places to pass/turn around on the trail up to the top of the Buttes. We went during the week and didn't see another car. I'd have to imagine it could be difficult to navigate on the weekend; someone will be backing up a long way on a trail that's pretty steep at the top.

Greg says

Great trail, the view from the top of the Buttes is awesome. One thing, the road up the Buttes is narrow and steep, on a busy weekend somebody’s going to be backing up a long way as there’s no room to pass and few opportunities to pull over.
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