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Abbott Butte Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

View to the south from the summit of Abbott Butte (B. Hope)
The Abbott Butte Lookout before it collapsed (B. Hope)
Close-up of the Abbott Butte Lookout in better days (B. Hope)
Map of the Abbott Butte hike (B. Hope)
  • Start point: Abbott Butte TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Abbott Butte
  • Hike type: Out and back
  • Distance: 7.0 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1500 feet
  • High point: 6,130 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: Summer, fall
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: Yes (but water could be scarce)
  • Crowded: No


Hike Description

Abbott Butte, on the eastern boundary of the Rogue-Umpqua Divide Wilderness, is literally on the ridge between the Rogue River and Umpqua watersheds. Snow that falls on the south and east sides of the peak feeds the North Fork of Abbott Creek before reaching the Wild and Scenic Upper Rogue River a little downstream of Union Creek. But precipitation that falls just a few feet north or west forms the headwaters of Squaw Creek and joins Jackson Creek on its long journey through the Umpqua Watershed to the Pacific Ocean. The hike to the butte on good trails and old roads is fairly straightforward. There are options to go beyond the butte to Elephant Pond, Elephant Head or Saddle Camp, but these require good routefinding skills and are more demanding. Note also that the entire route of this hike was burned over in the 2017 Broken Lookout Fire, so be prepared for rampant understory growth and downed trees.

From the trailhead at Huckleberry Gap, proceed north on the Rogue-Umpqua Divide Trail (#1470) for 1.4 miles around the north side of Quartz Mountain to Windy Gap. Here, you'll enter the Rogue-Umpqua Divide Wilderness and hike about 0.6 miles further to Sandy Gap. At this point, you leave the trail (there used to be a trail from here to Abbott Butte, but it's no longer maintained) and proceed another 0.6 miles on an old road to a junction with the Abbott Butte Trail (#1470A, actually the old lookout road).

Hike up this trail/old road for 0.7 miles, passing through grassy meadows, to the abandoned lookout atop Abbott Butte. The 1939 lookout tower and L4 cabin are now a pile of timbers collapsed atop the sleeping quarters. The nearby outhouse leans precariously. Clambering about the structures is NOT recommended. Views extend up and down the Cascade Range. Mount Thielsen and the rim of Crater Lake are clearly visible to the east across the Rogue River valley, and you should be able to make out both Mount McLoughlin and Mount Shasta to the south. Peak wildflower season here is in June.

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • No facilities at the trailhead
  • Wilderness rules apply


  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Boulder Creek Wilderness, Rogue-Umpqua Divide Wilderness, Mount Thielsen Wilderness, Oregon Cascades Recreation Area
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Tiller Ranger District
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Umpqua National Forest
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: High Cascades Ranger District
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Rogue River National Forest
  • Pacific Northwest Recreation Map Series: Land of Umpqua
  • Pacific Northwest Recreation Map Series: Upper Rogue Basin

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this destination

  • 100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Southern Oregon & Northern California by William L. Sullivan
  • Hiking Southern Oregon by Art Bernstein and Victor Harris
  • Hiking Oregon's Southern Cascades & Siskiyous by Art Bernstein
  • Hiking Oregon by Donna Lynn Ikenberry
  • Oregon's Wilderness Areas by George Wuerthner
  • Oregon's Southern Cascades: Camping & Hiking by Tom Stienstra & Sean Patrick Hill
  • Oregon's Best Wildflower Hikes: Southwest Region by Elizabeth L. Horn

More Links

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.