Butterbredt Peak is the southern terminus of a ridge dividing Butterbredt Canyon and Kelso Valley, southeast of Lake Isabella. This is a desert peak, positioned on the northwest edge of the Mojave Desert and the southeast edge of the Sierra Nevada. The peak is composed of a dark granitic rock, though in most places this is covered by brown sugar-colored sand. A healthy joshua tree forest lies to the east, in Butterbredt Canyon, and a grassy plain with ranches lies to the west in Kelso Valley.
The Jawbone Canyon area is popular with OHV enthusiasts, and some of the traffic spills into the Butterbredt area on weekends, so weekdays are usually best if you're seeking solitude. Despite the OHV traffic, this is still an excellent day hike, and the views of the western Mojave Desert are spectacular.
Though most routes up the mountain are walk-ups (very sandy class 1), the ridges on the southern side offer some fun scrambling, up to class 3. For more technical challenges, the ridge to the north sports many rock towers ranging in height from ~100ft to ~500ft. Peak 6,274' marks the northern terminus of the ridge, and itself is festooned with large rock outcrops.
FROM SOUTH/WEST: From the town of Mojave (Hwy CA-14/CA-58 jct) go east on CA-14 to the Jawbone Canyon Station, on your left.
FROM NORTH/EAST: From the town (or area) of Ridgecrest, go south on CA-14 through Red Rock Canyon and continue to Jawbone Canyon Station, on your right.
From Jawbone Canyon Station, go north and drive up Jawbone Canyon Road (paved, then dirt) to the Butterbredt Canyon Road (signed). You can park here, continue on Jawbone to Hoffman Summit (saddle at base of SW ridge), or drive up Butterbredt Canyon (4wd) and park along the east side.
FROM LAKE ISABELLA: Go east on CA-178 to Kelso Valley Road. Go right (south) and drive all the way through Kelso Valley (~30 miles) to Hoffman Summit.
No permits are required. Butterbredt Canyon is part of the California Desert Conservation Area, and although OHV's are allowed on the 4wd road through the canyon, they are not allowed to leave the road. There is a spring at the southern end of the canyon, but it is recommended that you not park or camp here, as the spring is frequented by wildlife.
When To Climb
Late October to May is the best time to climb, as temparatures in the summer are unbearable to dangerous. There can be snow in winter months, but snow/ice gear is not usually required.
Camping is allowed in Butterbredt Canyon, but there are few good spots. More camping is available in nearby Jawbone Canyon OHV Area, but crowded on weekends.
Best camping is northwest, along Piute Mountain Road, which splits to the west from Kelso Valley Road a few miles north of the northern end of Butterbredt Canyon Road. A few miles up Piute Mountain Road is a wonderful pinyon and juniper forest with ample camping.