Sierra Buttes Fire Lookout and Young American Lake

Last Sunday we embarked on a hike around Downieville, CA to go to the Sierra Buttes Fire Lookout. This hike is about 2.5 miles to the top. However, it is not as easy as one would think. In those 2.5 miles we gained about 1,500 feet of elevation. Along the way there were many areas where you could look out and see a great view of the lakes and mountains surrounding the area.
Right at the end of the hike in order to get to the actual fire lookout there are 3 flights of stairs. These stairs are extremely steep and someone with a fear of heights might be skittish on them. The views once you get to the top of the fire lookout are amazing. Once we got to the top we enjoyed our lunch up there before we decided to begin our descent down.

When we were going up we stopped to look at a lake which we later came to find out was Young American Lake. We toyed with the idea of hiking down to it and on our descent we could not resist.

There was no official trail down to the lake, so we had to find our own way down. Going down was extremely steep and slippery. From the top it did not look too far away, however it ended up being about a mile descent to get to the lake.

We all made it down to the lake and were dazzled by how blue and clear it was. There were some rocks to jump off of down there as well.

After spending about an hour playing around in the lake cooling off we started our journey back to the trail. We decided to try a different route to get to the top. This made our ascent a lot harder than our descent. Going up took us a solid 2 hours to go about a mile. The bottom was not too bad as the rocks were large and stable. As we started to get closer to the top the rocks got smaller and slipped when you stepped on them.

When we got through the rocks and towards the top we realized that we needed to be a ridge over in order to get back to the trail. We traversed along the side of the mountain and eventually we made it to the top. Once at the top, we walked down some more large boulders until we reached the trail.

Once on the trail we had about a mile to go to get to the car and we were all very happy once the car was in view. We ate snacks and drank some water before we headed back home.

It was an epic adventure to say the least!

For more information on staying in shape during the summer, check out the Best Ways to Stay in Shape for Skiing in the Summer.


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