Sand Buttes Trail Professional Guide
Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook
"Sand Buttes Trail travels along the south side of a lava field, east of Lava Beds National Monument. The trail is predominantly smooth, with sections of embedded rock. The surface can be uneven, with some deep, fine sand traps in dry weather. In wet weather the trail is likely to be impassable and should not be attempted. The turnoff for the trail from California 139 is not marked, but it is opposite Modoc County Road 136, so it is easy to find. The rest of the trail is sketchily marked, so pay close attention to the route directions and GPS coordinates to avoid taking a wrong turn. Right away, the trail enters Modoc National Forest; the entrance is unmarked. The site of the old Dry Lake Guard Station is immediately on the left—the new station is located approximately a mile south of the start of the trail on California 139. Special Attractions: Trail passes historic sites from the Modoc War; Cinder pits at East Sand Butte; Wide-ranging views from an optional 4-rated spur to the top of East Sand Butte. High-clearance 4WDs are preferred, but any high-clearance vehicle is acceptable. Expect a rough road surface; mud and sand are possible but will be easily passable. You may encounter rocks up to 6 inches in diameter, a loose road surface, and shelf roads, though these will be wide enough for passing or will have adequate pull-offs."