You’ve heard this before, my friend, but I have to say it again because this is my last chance to say it. You’re not going out there to prove anything. You’re not going out there to rough it. You’re going to smooth it. You get it rough enough every day!
~HARRY ROBERTS, Movin’ On, 1977
In January during an unusually warm period (80 degrees to be exact) we climbed Butterbredt Peak in the Southern Sierra Nevada Mountains west of Highway 14. This wintertime climb promises easy route finding, moderate elevation gain and distance, a scenic dirt road to the trail head and rewards the hiker at the top with stunning views of the Piute Mountain Range, Kelso Valley, numerous peaks, and the distant High Sierras. Butterbredt is an icon of sorts, as it sits alone northwest of popular Jawbone Canyon. I have photographed this lone beauty many times while leading student photography field trips in Red Rock Canyon State Park. I was… to say the least excited to finally climb and not just drive on by as usual. The peak is a perfect first summit for the young and mature.
LENGTH 2.2 miles round trip
ELEVATION 5997 feet
ELEVATION GAIN 1155 feet
TRAIL HEAD From Highway 14, turn west on Jawbone Canyon Road. Then turn right at Kelso Valley Road. Trail head is at the second saddle after leaving Butterbredt Canyon, 14.2 miles on dirt road after leaving Highway 14. Use T4 and T5 in Exploring the Southern Sierra: East Side
DIFFICULTY Easy route finding, Easy to moderate, class 1 and 2 climbing
BEST TIME TO HIKE Fall, winter, spring (can be very hot during the middle of summer) and a great climb while the High Sierras are under snow
ROUTE Head north-east from the saddle on this cross-country route to the summit. There are a few false summits along the way and some good use trails.
- This area is under special management under the California Desert Conservation Act.
- Bureau of Land Management report in 1976 stated that approximately 343 species of animals live in this stark high desert. We however did not see so much as a lizard.
- The drive to the trail head is scenic, austere, and remote. Children would love the hike and views from the top.
- A coworker of my husband who bares the last name Butterbredt is a distant relative of the peak’s namesake.
To view the complete trip photo album and a topographical map with interactive photos click the links below:
- Photo album on Flickr
- Topographical map with route and photos using EveryTrail and my GPS enabled I Phone
For a virtual panoramic view from the summit of Five Fingers Peak view the video below.