Cinder cones are easily eroded so please stay on the established trails and don't take shortcuts. Frothy lava, cooled in the air, created the large cinder cones throughout the monument. Schonchin Butte's .75 mile trail leads you to a panoramic view from the historic fire lookout. The lookout is staffed from June to September. Children of all ages can earn a Junior Fire Lookout badge. Butte is a geological word for any landform that sticks up abruptly, but cinder cone is a more descriptive geological way of describing this landmark of the monument.
Erupting more than 30,000 years ago, it spewed ash and cinders into the air much like a can of soda when shaken. A lava spatter rampart is at the very top. From the lookout panoramic views of the Medicine Lake volcano, Mount Shasta, Mount McLoughlin, the Clear Lake Hills and the Warner Mountains can be viewed and photographed. On a really clear day, you can even see the south rim of Crater Lake. Below the butte, lava flows and collapses are easy to pick out in the landscape. This alone is reason enough to make the climb.