Bonney Butte / Boulder Lk Loop 22-Jun-2013

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VanMarmot
Posts: 1923
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm

Bonney Butte / Boulder Lk Loop 22-Jun-2013

Post by VanMarmot » June 23rd, 2013, 2:15 pm

To celebrate my birthday and the loved one’s recent promotion ( :D ), we decided to spend the weekend in Hood River disguised as tourists. A hike was, of course, a required part of the weekend and we (wisely as it turned out) chose to do that on Saturday, which was a perfect weather day (unlike last year, when this get-away weekend was one big rain cloud (Deschutes River 2012)). After some cogitating, we picked Bonney Butte (for the views) and Boulder Lake (for the reflections) as destinations and put together a path from FR 48 over the butte to the lake and back. Per the field guide, we found the Bonney Butte trail (471) off FR 48 (Wamic Road TH) but decided to drive up FR 4890 to park near the upper part of the 471, as this seemed safer than parking along FR 48.

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The 471 starts just to the left of the car.

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The 471 trail was wide, well graded, and easy to follow all the way up to the upper part of the Bonney Meadows Road.

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The road past the campground and up to the butte wasn’t particularly interesting until it burst out into the open and gave us this gigantic view of Jefferson, Olallie Butte, the Sisters, and points south.

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This butte has one of the best views of Jefferson and Olallie Butte in the area.

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But it’s no slouch when it comes to offering up views of Hood’s SE side,

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The top of Bonney serves as a raptor banding station in the Fall (per the handy informational signage), as well as providing views of Jefferson,

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Hood, and Adams.

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It also provides a nice overview of Bonney Meadows.

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From the butte, we headed down the road,

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and through the campground to connect with the Boulder Lk Way Tr (463) - in good condition and easy to follow - which took us around the N side of the meadows and then down to Boulder Lk nestled below Echo Point. You can drive within 0.5 mi of the lake, so this was our first encounter with more than two people.

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We had lunch at the lake and were pretty amazed to NOT be pestered by mosquitos or any other kind of flying blood sucker – the meadows were also largely bug-free (but don't expect this happy situation to last :cry: ). The loop hike in the field guide has you continuing S on 463 well past Little Boulder Lk and then hooking back N on the 473. Instead, we followed the 463 to the first ridge S of Boulder Lk and then went straight up the ridge to intersect with the 473 on the plateau above.

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This was not hard to do, as the slope is gentle, there is very little undergrowth, and a handy boulder field sped us over the last 200’ to the top – 300’ beyond which is the 473.

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The 473 took us over Echo Point – yes, there is an echo from there – for a good view of the upper Boulder Ck catchment and Badger Butte.

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From Echo Point, the trail heads directly down to intersect with the 471 on the SE side of the meadows, which carried us around the S side of the meadows, with good views of Bonney Butte,

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and Mt. Hood.

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After that, it was back down the 471 to the TH, stopping to admire the flowers along the way.

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This was a wonderful :D little hike (9.3 mi, 2200’ EG) through the forest, past meadows, to big views, and a picturesque little lake. Except for around the lake, we saw only 6 people all day. It was made all the more sweet when we woke up this morning to clouds and a light rain! :lol:

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SonOfTamarack
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Joined: December 3rd, 2009, 1:28 pm

Re: Bonney Butte / Boulder Lk Loop 22-Jun-2013

Post by SonOfTamarack » June 23rd, 2013, 3:57 pm

Nice report. We did the loop from Boulder Creek trailhead up to Bonney Meadows and back down via the loop south along the ridge and back north along the road to Little Boulder Lake. The southern loop is pretty boring, aside from the beautiful beargrass, so glad to see you figured a way to cut that off. Does it seem possible to downclimb that or too treacherous that direction?

We had no mosquitoes bug us until about 6pm. Boulder Lake was OK, but the area around Little Boulder was very very buggy. Bonney Meadows are beautiful right now. Little frogs and shooting stars. Still a few demure snow banks in the deep woods.

Heading back from the trailhead we took 4880 east until it hit NF-48, a lot less brush on the road that way.

That whole area is going to be filled with huckleberries in a few months.

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VanMarmot
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Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm

Re: Bonney Butte / Boulder Lk Loop 22-Jun-2013

Post by VanMarmot » June 24th, 2013, 4:57 am

SonOfTamarack wrote:Nice report. We did the loop from Boulder Creek trailhead up to Bonney Meadows and back down via the loop south along the ridge and back north along the road to Little Boulder Lake. The southern loop is pretty boring, aside from the beautiful beargrass, so glad to see you figured a way to cut that off. Does it seem possible to downclimb that or too treacherous that direction?
Thanks! Shouldn't be hard to downclimb our route. The only trick would be to stay right on the crest of the ridge as you approach the 463 trail as it's pretty steep on either side at that point.

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