Redding, CA 96002
From the summit of Black Butte (6,325 feet), you will get a spectacular view of the surrounding area. Mount Shasta towers to the east. The city of Mt. Shasta and the Sacramento River canyon are to the south. Mt. Eddy and the Klamath Mountains are to the west. The town of Weed, the Shasta Valley and Mt. McLaughlin in Oregon are to the north.
Famed naturalist John Muir called it "Muir's Peak" when he visited the Mt. Shasta area during the late 1800's. Since that time, it has been successively named Wintoon Butte, Cone Mountain and, finally...Black Butte.
The trail to the summit was originally built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the late 1930's. This trail provided access to a Forest Service lookout that was built at the summit. Pack animals were used to bring supplies to the lookout. The original lookout was destroyed during the Columbus Day Storm of 1962. A new lookout was built the following year and was operated until 1973. During the fall of 1975, the lookout structure was removed and flown by helicopter to a new location above the Pit River. The only remaining evidence of the lookout is the concrete foundation at the summit.
Of volcanic origin, Black Butte is a steep, nearly treeless dome of hornblende andesite. It was formed about 10,000 years ago at about the same time as Shastina Crater on Mt. Shasta. A large crater first developed at the base of Mt. Shasta. Soon, very thick magma began to issue from the crater. Four successive eruptions of material with the consistency of cookie dough were forced above the crater rim. As the flow cooled, internal stress caused the lava to break into chunks that rolled down the side of the dome. Remnants of the solid core can be seen as crags near the summit.
The trail is about 2.56 miles from the trailhead to the summit. The trail is maintained annually, however the surface is extremely rocky and steep in places. There is no water available along the trail. There are also few shady spots along the trail and heat can be a factor in having an enjoyable hike during mid-summer. The total vertical climb from the trailhead to the summit is 1,845 feet. Although they are rarely seen, a good population of rattlesnakes live in and around Black Butte, so care must be taken to avoid these critters and hikers should wear appropriate footwear.