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Coffin Butte Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

The overlook, Coffin Butte (bobcat)
Western buttercup (Ranunculus occidentalis), Coffin Butte (bobcat)
Madrone and oak, Coffin Butte (bobcat)
The trail up Coffin Butte (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo
  • Start point: Coffin Butte TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End Point: Coffin Butte
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: In and out
  • Distance: 1.7 miles
  • Elevation gain: 445 feet
  • High Point: 645 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: All year: not advised during hunting season
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No
Poison Oak

Contents

Description

Part of the E.E. Wilson State Wildlife Area, the Coffin Butte Trail takes visitors up above an old quarry and into the oak forest that crowns Coffin Butte. About halfway up, there’s a viewpoint that looks east over the Willamette Valley to Mount Jefferson, but the forested summit is viewless. This is a short hike, and it became much less appealing when the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife expanded its permit system in 2012. Now, hikers must have a $10 day-use permit ($30 annual) to park at various ODFW trailheads (If you want to double up on the permit, also use your day pass to do the nearby E.E. Wilson Loop Hike). Another feature of the hike, which may be of interest to the discriminating few, is that the ODFW property is right next to the large and busy Coffin Butte Landfill – the hum of machinery and the whiff of decomposing garbage are ever-present.

From the parking area, head up a grassy road track with a fenceline of blackberries separating you from the entrance to the landfill. At an old apple tree and quarry, a ‘Viewpoint’ sign points you left. Walk up a soggy track lined by young maples, madrones, and cottonwoods. Vultures will almost always be circiling overhead. Switchback at another sign (You can go left here to get a better view of landfill operations and Poison Oak Hill to the south). Keep rising on the track, getting views across the Willamette Valley to the central Cascades. Reach the overlook, which offers a vista across the ponds of the former Camp Adair, now the E.E. Wilson State Wildlife Area, to Mount Jefferson.

From the overlook, the trail switchbacks steeply up in oak woods. Be careful of poison oak encroaching on the tread here. Bend left to hike up the summit ridge. Pass a small study site, and follow the grassy track into the oaks, madrones, and maples. Irises are in bloom here in spring, and deer inhabit these woods, which are alive with songbirds in the fall and spring. The forest floor up here is carpeted with poison oak and toothwort. Reach the boundary sign denoting the ‘summit.’ This is not the actual summit, which lies on private property. Proceed no further, and return to the parking area.


Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • $10 day-use parking permit (not available on site)
  • Dogs on leash
  • Open 4:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.

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Guidebooks that cover this hike

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Page Contributors

Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.