First off, Brainwash Butte is not an official designation. You won't find it on any map. For an entertaining read how the hill got its name read Tom Mahoods article Discovery of "Brainwash Butte". It takes a bit more work to get there than the other view spot, Mount Diablo, but it is by far the best TTR view spot. This 1997 TTR Panorama and this 2019 Panorama were taken from there.
You are looking at TTR in 14 miles distance, perpendicular to the runway and the flight line. That and the elevated location are ideal conditions for observing the base. With a spotting scope or good set of IS binoculars you have a great view of all the hangars and other areas of TTR, including the runway. At the same time you are far enough away where security won't hassle you and you are not easily detected from the base. There is enough level ground at the top of the butte for several vehicles or to camp. However, many people choose to park at the saddle out of sight of the base and hike the rest of the way up.
From Hwy 6, mile marker 38.7 take a well maintained dirt road south. A sign at the intersection points to Silver Bow and Golden Arrow. After 10 miles turn left onto a secondary dirt road. After 2.7 miles you pass a 4-way intersection at the Golden Arrow mine. Continue straight, then one mile past Golden Arrow fork right. From here on the road has washed out sections and requires high clearance and 4WD. Keep following the most travelled road, heading roughly south, then east. 8.7 miles past Golden Arrow you will see a two-track road leading up the hill to your right. Follow the tracks for 0.3 miles up to a saddle, then another 0.15 miles to the top of Brainwash Butte. The two-track road is very rocky and requires 4WD and high clearance.
For a fun side trip continue on the main dirt road and follow the directions on the Rachel web site to Silver Bow, an interesting mining ghost town right by the TTR boundary.
|Hwy 6, Golden Arrow turnoff||N38° 8.979'||W116° 34.779'|
|Turn left||N38° 0.963'||W116° 38.945'|
|Golden Arrow, 4-way||N38° 0.194'||W116° 36.180'|
|Two track road uphill||N37° 54.336'||W116° 33.386'|
|Saddle||N37° 54.096'||W116° 33.395'|
|Top of Brainwash Butte||N37° 54.051'||W116° 33.558'|