The end of Butler Peak Trail offers one of the greatest rewards for your efforts of any Big Bear hiking trail: 360-degree views of San Gorgonio Peak, the Big Bear Valley, Lake Arrowhead, Apple Valley, and the Inland Empire from Butler Peak fire lookout.
The lookout is located between the towns of Green Valley Lake and Fawnskin and is about 40 minutes from the north side of Big Bear Lake. It is the tallest lookout in the San Bernardino Mountains.
The landscape is phenomenal: a high desert busy with low lying shrubs and pine trees. Butler Peak in Big Bear is the third most prominent peak in the San Bernardino range.
You can even talk to knowledgeable staff at the fire lookout. Ask them about the local area, flora and fauna. Walk the wraparound catwalk or enjoy your lunch here while you take in the view. Don’t miss a chance to learn about the Osborne FireFinder, a historic piece of technology used to detect where wildfires are in relation to your location.
There is a primitive toilet at the trailhead. Be aware that the road to the trailhead is rough. It is graded but not recommended for low clearance vehicles. All wheel drive is recommended. The road is closed in winter due to snow. Due to the fire risk, always check the Forest Service website before heading out for information about road and trail closures and wildfires.
Butler Peak Trail is about 14 miles roundtrip with 1,800 feet in elevation gain.
To get there, take the 215 Freeway through San Bernardino to SR 30. Drive east on SR 30 to the junction with SR 330. Drive north on SR 330 to SR 18 in Running Springs taking SR 18 all the way to the Big Bear Lake Dam. At the dam take SR 38 on the left to Fawnskin. As you enter Fawnskin turn left onto 3N14 and drive for 1.3 miles. After 1.3 miles take a left at the fork onto 2N13. You’ll see a sign for Butler Peak Lookout. Keep right at the fork 2.4 miles later. At 3.9 miles, turn left onto 2N13C. In 4.1 miles keep right and continue to the trailhead.
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