Butcher Ranch Trail is a difficult 4 mile trail at an elevation of 6,200 feet. This trail follows the contour of Butcher Ranch Creek for 1.5 miles to the confluence of Butcher Ranch and Pauley Creeks. The Pauley Creek Trail begins here. Those continuing down the Butcher Ranch Trail will parallel Pauley Creek with its beautiful deep pools. The trail crosses Pauley Creek after another 2 miles and continues the final half-mile to the junction with Second and Third Divide Trails. This is particularly scenic trail, especially in July when the wildflowers are in bloom. Fishing in Butcher Ranch Creek is reported good to excellent. Backpackers will find sufficient campsites when exploring this area.
There are several options for hiking in this area. Those who can arrange transportation may wish to hike from Butcher Ranch to the Second or Third Divide trailhead. Second Divide is the longer and more scenic of the two. For those returning to the Butcher-Ranch Trailhead, Pauley Creek Trail offers a scenic two-mile detour. Ambitious hikers may wish to follow the Butcher-Ranch Trail to the crossing of Pauley Creek and return via the same trail
Directions from Sierra City: Travel 5 miles east on Hwy. #49, turn onto Gold Lake Hwy. at Bassetts Station. Continue on Gold Lake Hwy. for 1.4 miles, turn left, and cross the bridge over Salmon Creek. Proceed 0.3 miles and turn right onto Packer Lake Road. Continue on Packer Lake Road for two and one-half miles to Packer Lake. At this point the road forks. Take the left fork, Forest Road #93 (Packer Saddle Road). Continue 2.1 miles to Packer Saddle and turn left, following the sign reading "Sierra Buttes Lookout 3 and Pauley Creek 5." After 0.5 miles miles for Forest Road #93 makes a 90 degree turn to the right. Follow this another 0.5 miles to a sign reading "Butcher Ranch 1, Pauley Creek 4." Take the right fork, proceeding 0.7 miles to a sign directing you to the trailhead. As indicated the road is steep and is recommended for 4 wheel-drive vehicles only. There is another access road 0.3 miles further. This road is not as steep, but recommended for heavy, high clearance, or four wheel-drive vehicles. You are advised to park passenger cars or light trucks here and hike the last mile to the trailhead.
June through September .