Hiking Sierra Buttes

06.09. Sierra Buttes
I remember the moment when I first saw photos from the top of Sierra Buttes. The place stole my heart in a moment.
Then last Thanksgiving I wanted to hike but there was snow on the top, and I was hesitant.
Then we returned to the area in January, but I even didn’t think about the hike to the top.
I used to plan our trips in 2-3 months advance. I surfed over the Google Maps searching for the place where we could hike, be in relative solitude (I mean relative by California terms). What I hate about Summer mountains retreats – they all want you to stay at least two nights.
After an extended googling and thinking, I stopped at Buttes Resort – and then the plan was soooo obvious. Who would stay in the place with the name “Buttes Resort” and will not hike to the buttes?
I knew few days in advance that Saturday would be cold and windy. Very windy. Though I never expect that extreme gusty and freezing wind.
You can reach to the top few ways: the longer hike from Sardine Lakes (we hiked part of it to the Sardine Lakes Overlook – here) – total 12 miles, or from Tamarack Lakes Trailhead – less than 8 miles total, or shorter one – from PCT.
And a longer way – the more scenic.

06.09. Sierra Buttes
06.09. Sierra Buttes
06.09. Sierra Buttes
06.09. Sierra Buttes

We started from Tamarack Lakes. The skies were covered with grey clouds, and the wind was nasty.
The trail is beautiful but it ascends all the time almost without these easy switchbacks. So after 2 miles, I felt tired as after 4 miles. Th wind also didn’t help.
Views begin on the second miles. At first, you see Tamarack Lakes. Then as soon as trail reaches the ridge, you see the valley on the west. The higher you go – the nicer are views. And the stronger was wind.
06.09. Sierra Buttes
06.09. Sierra Buttes
06.09. Sierra Buttes
06.09. Sierra Buttes
06.09. Sierra Buttes

06.09. Sierra Buttes
06.09. Sierra Buttes
06.09. Sierra Buttes
06.09. Sierra Buttes
06.09. Sierra Buttes
06.09. Sierra Buttes

06.09. Sierra Buttes
06.09. Sierra Buttes
06.09. Sierra Buttes

06.09. Sierra Buttes
06.09. Sierra Buttes

06.09. Sierra Buttes
06.09. Sierra Buttes
The last part of the trail is stairs. And they are not for the faint heart. I don’t fear hight, but I dread to fall. And the gusty wind tried to throw me out of the metal steps. I hold with both hands hating how heavy is my camera that pulled me on the side.
06.09. Sierra Buttes
06.09. Sierra Buttes
We met hikers on the trail, and a group of the cyclists before the stairs but on the fire lookout we were alone.

06.09. Sierra Buttes
06.09. Sierra Buttes

06.09. Sierra Buttes
06.09. Sierra Buttes
06.09. Sierra Buttes
06.09. Sierra Buttes

06.09. Sierra Buttes
06.09. Sierra Buttes

06.09. Sierra Buttes
06.09. Sierra Buttes
The way back was easy and fast, and when we reached the trailhead, the skies were blue again. It took four hours for the wind to clear the horizon entirely.

Trail Information

  • Trail Length (out and back): 7.2 miles
  • Time needed: 3-5 hours
  • Google Maps link to the trailhead: link
  • Link to the trail description on trails.com



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