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Pacific Crest Trail: Sierra City to Sierra Buttes

Hiking Trail or Trailhead
View of Sierra Buttes from Sierra City – Amy Gerbic

The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a 2,650-mile trail connecting Canada and Mexico that winds itself through SIerra County and crosses Highway 49, also known as the Yuba River Scenic Byway, east of Sierra City. It crosses Haypress Creek and then emerges at the North Yuba at Loves Falls, just a mile or so north-east of Sierra City. Sierra City is a popular stop-over for weary PCT hikers, a great place to stock up on provisions, do laundry and get a comfortable night's sleep in a bed.

Loves Falls are spectacular and a must for Sierra City visitors as it's a nice and easy walk from Hwy. 49 just east of town on a leaf covered woodsy path.

The Wild Plum Loop Trail starts near the Wild Plum campground and meanders alongside Haypress Creek through riparian hardwood communities that provide a rich birding experience.

If you continue on the Pacific Crest Trail northward as it crosses Hwy 49 near Loves Falls, it climbs in a series of switchbacks across the southwest face of the Sierra Buttes right above Sierra City providing a magnificent view. As you get closer to the top of the Sierra Buttes, the PCT provides an interesting trail detour, the Sierra Buttes Lookout Trail. Whether you are coming along the PCT from the south or north, or just parked your car at Packer Saddle, do not miss the Sierra Buttes Lookout. The hike there is steep and challenging, but well worth the effort. There is an amazing viewing platform that runs all around the lookout for 360 degree views. Not recommended for the faint of heart or anyone with a fear of heights!

For more information on the above mentioned trails, visit the recreation section on the Tahoe National Forest websites listed below.

Trail Distance

PCT North to Loves Falls - 2 miles, one way. PCT Wild Plum Loop Trail - 2-1/2 mile loop. Sierra Buttes Lookout via PCT - 2.5 miles, one way

Vertical Gain or Loss

PCT North to Loves Falls - 600 ft. elevation gain. PCT Wild Plum Loop Trail - 440 ft. elevation gain. Sierra Buttes Lookout via PCT - 1,587 ft. elevation gain

Nearby Places