The short hike up Schonchin Butte provides access to what is unquestionably the best panoramic lookout point in the Lava Beds National Monument.
Gaining about 450 feet in elevation over the 0.85-mile trail, Schonchin Butte is topped by a fire lookout that remains active during hot and dry conditions, and as such, entry is closed to the public. However, the lookout, standing at 5,267 feet, does have a wraparound walkway with interpretive signs naming the surrounding visible peaks and landmarks—most notably the snow-covered summit of Mount Shasta and the nearby Tulelake and Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge.
While the trail should be easily hiked by anyone with moderate abilities, there are only a couple areas of shade—trees throughout the monument's volcanic landscape are rare. Sun protection and water are recommended.
From the top, return back down the trail. The total length of the out-and-back hike is about 1.7 miles. A vault toilet is available in the parking area.