Black Butte Trail – Mt Shasta Wilderness

Black Butte Trail - Mt Shasta Wilderness

Stunning views of Mount Shasta prevail on the Mt Shasta Wilderness trail leading to the summit of Black Butte, and the 360-degree views from the top are spectacular.  Black Butte also has some hidden, fascinating features.  They are only revealed to those who take the journey up.

Chris & Mac of Grey Otter Outventures

Chris & Mac
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Length:  5.2 Miles Round Trip
Trailhead(s):  Black Butte Trailhead
Elevation Gain:  1,845’
Trail Type:  Out and Back
Dogs:  Allowed on Leash but Not Recommended
Difficulty:  Moderate
Permit Required?  No
Considerations:  Unstable Rocks, Sun Exposure
Season:  Summer & Fall


Stunning views of Mount Shasta prevail on the Mt Shasta Wilderness trail leading to the summit of Black Butte, and the 360-degree views from the top are spectacular.  Black Butte also has some hidden, fascinating features.

Black Butte Trail – Mt Shasta Wilderness and Distant Peaks in View

The easy to follow Black Butte Trail starts in the forest, but quickly opens up to reveal dominating views of Mount Shasta and the surrounding Mt Shasta Wilderness.  The trail winds its way around Black Butte and eventually up to the summit, where expansive distant peaks astound the viewer.  Sheeprock, the Goosenest, Willow Creek Mountain, Mount Eddy, Lassen Peak, Crater Peak, and Mt. McLoughlin, as well as Castle Crags and the Harry Watkins/Gray Rock Dome area are all visible from the summit.  Need we say more?

Black Butte Trail – Lots of Rocks

This trail is definitively rocky.  The many talus fields we hiked through were mostly level due to strategically placed rocks, dirt and gravel.  Upon reaching the hidden canyon (a unique feature of this butte), a bit of rock hopping was necessary to get through the jumble.  The rocks are more unstable along sections of the trail as it ascends through and around the multiple summits created by separate eruptions.  Wire retaining nets hold loose rocks in place.  There was enough loose rock underfoot on these exposed slopes that it required paying close attention to  footing as we traversed these areas.

Black Butte Summit

Arriving just below the summit, the trail splits into numerous foot paths for the scramble to the top.  Up here the rocks were once again firm under our feet.  The last bit of the rocky top terminates at the foundation of an old lookout tower which requires navigating a stretch of exposed rock to reach.  Immediately below this rocky top we found there was plenty of room to hang out, have a snack, and enjoy the views before turning around to head back down.

Scroll down to learn about the GEAR WE USE and OTHER OUTVENTURES in this area.

Additional Information

© 2019 Grey Otter Outventures, Inc.

Black Butte Slideshow

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Gear We Use for Day Hiking

To see descriptions of the gear Chris & Mac use for day hiking, as well as links to manufacturers and retailers offering the gear for sale, please CLICK HERE.

Mount Shasta Gateway Trail

Articles About Other Regional Outventures

Click below to learn about other regional outventures in this area.

SAFETY DISCLAIMER:  The activities discussed in this website are outdoor activities and, as such, have inherent risks to which participants are exposed.  It is not the intent of this website, nor is it possible due to the variability of weather, terrain, equipment, and experience, to detail all of those risks.  The information contained in this site is informational, but not instructive nor exhaustive.  It is the sole responsibility of the user to ensure he/she is in good health, fully prepared, and fully informed as to dangers before undertaking any of the activities discussed in this website and the user does so at his/her own risk.  The user understands that by using this website he/she acknowledges and accepts all risks associated with use of information from this website and participation in any particular activity addressed herein.  Please see “Terms of Use” for additional information.

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