Sierra Buttes Lookout Tower - TRAIL

Sierra Buttes Lookout Tower - Trail, Downieville, California

Death incarnate. Just be in pretty damn good riding shape before tackling this ride. It also helps to have some technical skill as the trail nearly all the way to the top is on loose, rocky trails or dusty OHV trails. However, the views from the top of the lookout tower are ineffable. You just have to get up there and see for yourself. I have some pictures up on some website, but I won't share them since it might give you an excuse to not do this ride. According to my altimeter, we did 5,260 feet of climbing in 12.5 miles.

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Bryan Pressnall   Cross Country Rider [Aug 22, 2007]

This is a great addition to the Downieville Downhill (Butcher Ranch route) especially if you take the shuttle to Packer Saddle. That way you'll get some climbing in and a 5500' vertical downhill back to Downieville (8400'-2900'). Plus an awesome view from an amazing lookout tower perched on the 8500'+ peak. Combined with Butcher Ranch, 2nd and 1st Devides, it's one of the best rides you'll ever do.

Customer Service

You can take the jeep trail up and do a lot of hiking or take the more direct trail up and do less hiking. If you do the trail you will have to ride on the Pacific Crest Trail for a short distance (half mile?) on a section that was once a jeep trail and is officially closed to bikes. For the trail, from the shuttle drop off (6800'), go to the side of the parking lot away from the road (southeast) and find an unmarked singletrack following the ridge south. A short ride takes you back to the road and the PCT trailhead. Follow the PCT up and assure any hikers you will be exiting shortly. After the steep climb levels out the PCT will Y off right and you will go left up the ridge toward the Buttes. You will also pass a trail on the left down to Tamarack Lakes. After some hiking, you'll come to the Jeep trail and follow it past a gate and up steeply to the top and the stairway leading to the lookout. Now just follow your tracks back to Packer Saddle avoiding the crappy eroding shortcuts off the jeep trail. When you get to Packer Saddle take the new (2007?) singletrack that ties in to the Butcher Ranch Trail. It's just across the road from the parking lot.

Similar Products Used: Packer Saddle to Summit Lake to Big Boulder to 3rd and 1st devides
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