Butte County Highpoint Trip Report

Date: July 30, 2005
Author: Dean Molen

Following Gary Suttle's directions, I came in from the west on SR 32 and headed to Jonesville. Suttle mentions a fork in the road past Jonesville. The left fork heads up to Humboldt summit, a mere two miles away but the negative with this route is that the hike is 8 miles roundtrip. By taking the right fork (again, following Suttle's directions), a much shorter route of less than 4 miles round trip is possible.

Just past Cold Springs but just before the Butte-Plumas county line a spur road takes off to the left.

Follow this road about a quarter of a mile to where the PCT crosses this road (easily driven by a 2WD passenger vehicle) and park here.

The PCT heads north and is easily followed and is well marked by diamond (silver in color) markers that are on many trees along the way. Elevation gain is minimal, less than 400-500 feet as the PCT heads north. In less than two miles, just after crossing a large meadow area, the trail enters the trees again and soon a metal sign noting that the Butte CoHP is less than 0.2 mile is encountered. Should you pass this sign, the PCT starts to drop down the hill and this should alert you that you have gone too far.

The side trail is very obvious and leads up to a high point that is still in Plumas county but has a red register with many familiar names in it. This is not the high point (as many of the entries point out), so sign the register and continue following the use trail as it heads west for about another 300 or so feet and you'll soon come to a tree that has a metal plaque on it. The sign states that this is the Butte CoHP at an elevation of 7,140 feet.

After finding the tree with the plaque, I launched a search for the cairn and register mentioned by Ken Jones in his TR but even after crisscrossing the whole area with my wife helping out, I couldn't find the cairn and the register, the same result Bill Fincher mentioned. Finally I gave up the search for it and wondered if those who put the plaque up on the tree had dismantled it but, still, I may have been right near it and missed it. I hope future seekers of the Butte CoHP will also search for this elusive cairn and register.

My wife and I also had the pleasure of meeting three PCT thru hikers who were on their way from Mexico to Canada. Each had an inspirational story to tell of their trip. They were curious why we were on this rather desolate section of the PCT and so I shared what county highpointing is all about.

Rather than return the way we came, we exited to the east and made our way to Lake Almanor. This route is described in some information offered by the Lassen Backcountry Discovery Trails web site.

A Benchmark Map atlas helps on this route to the east and it is 2WD passenger car doable. Dirt road, all the way to SR 89.