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Tanner Butte

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Tanner Butte from Chinidere Mountain (Tom Kloster)
View from the summit of Tanner Butte (Don Nelsen)
Mount Hood from the summit - view is partially obscured by 2006 forest fire (Don Nelsen)
Summit huckleberries are ripe in mid-August (Don Nelsen)


Visible from most any high spot in the Columbia River Gorge, Tanner Butte is a familiar landmark for hikers. However, this former fire lookout remains one the least visited summits in the area. This is mainly due to the difficulty of the hike—it is a tough one! Hikers have a minimum 18 mile round trip out-and-back coming from Wahclella Falls Trailhead. Many will choose to make a backpack loop out of this by continuing the journey down the valley and back out the Eagle Creek gorge (see Tanner-Eagle Traverse Hike for more information). Tanner Creek Road used to provide closer access, but misuse (illegal dumping, target shooting, etc) has forced the forest service to close it.

The work is worth it, however! Its central location in the interior of the gorge makes the view from the top incredible, with a dramatic 360 degree view encompassing five cascade volcanos—Mount Saint Helens and Rainier to the north, Mount Adams to the northeast, Mount Hood to the southeast and Jefferson due south—and all the other major peaks in the Gorge region. This includes the bald-topped Chinidere Mountain to the east, with Tomlike Mountain and Mount Defiance just beyond. Extending northward from Chinidere is the Benson Plateau with large, expansive Eagle Creek valley below. Larch Mountain dominates the horizon to the west. On a clear day, you can just make our Silver Star to the northwest.

In late spring, the meadow near the base of the summit is filled with blooming bear grass. In late summer, look for ripening huckleberries.

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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.