Schonchin Butte

Lava Beds National Monument

Warner Mountains + Modoc Plateau, California

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Schonchin Butte


  • The parking area and trailhead.- Schonchin Butte
  • An informational sign at the trailhead.- Schonchin Butte
  • Schonchin Butte is a short trail.- Schonchin Butte
  • A guestbook along the trail.- Schonchin Butte
  • Though short, the trail up the butte is a moderate climb up 450 feet in elevation gain.- Schonchin Butte
  • Wildflowers along the hike.- Schonchin Butte
  • A bench in a rare spot of shade makes for a great spot to take in the views.- Schonchin Butte
  • Volcanic rock makes up a bit of the trail surface.- Schonchin Butte
  • Wildflowers on the way to Schonchin Butte.- Schonchin Butte
  • The trail wraps around the first view of the fire lookout.- Schonchin Butte
  • Wildflowers just beneath the fire lookout atop the butte.- Schonchin Butte
  • Though the interior of the fire lookout is closed to the public, interpretive signs wrap around the porch walkway of the lookout.- Schonchin Butte
  • Schonchin Butte fire lookout.- Schonchin Butte
  • The fire lookout boasts views of a snow-covered Mount Shasta.- Schonchin Butte
Overview + Weather
Panoramic views.
Interior of fire lookout is closed to public.
Warner Mountains + Modoc Plateau, CA
Pets allowed: 
Net Elevation Gain: 
450.00 ft (137.16 m)
Parking Pass: 
National Park Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
1.70 mi (2.74 km)
Trail type: 
Trailhead Elevation: 
4,821.00 ft (1,469.44 m)
Current Local Weather:
Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

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.

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(1 within a 30 mile radius)

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(11 within a 30 mile radius)

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