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Black Butte Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Revision as of 15:17, 2 October 2019 by Justpeachy (Talk | contribs)

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Old lookout on Black Butte and Three Fingered Jack (Cheryl Hill)
  • Start point: Black Butte TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Black Butte
  • Trail Log: Trail Log
  • Hike Type: Out-and-back
  • Distance: 4 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1500 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: Summer and fall
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: Yes


Hike Description

NOTE: This trail is pretty hot and dusty by mid-summer and may not be suitable for small children and pets on especially warm days.

The trail begins at the far end of the parking lot at a signboard at road's end. The trail climbs uphill through the trees. After a switchback, the trail continues to climb. A mile from the trailhead you leave the trees behind as the trail steeply traverses the shadeless open slope. Fortunately there are great views along this stretch to motivate you to keep going, and you can see the top of the fire lookout on the summit. This tower was built in 1995 and is staffed in the summer.

The trail curves to the left as it makes its final push to the summit. The fire lookout is visible on your left. The trail was re-routed in 2011 and you may see evidence of the old trail leading up to the tower, but you'll stay on the trail heading straight which shortly brings you to the summit. You'll see the concrete footings from a previous lookout tower that was built in 1934 and collapsed in 2001. The white cupola lookout that was built in 1923 still stands. Volunteers started restoring it in 2019. Just down the slope from this lookout is where a cabin that served as living quarters once stood. It was built in 1979 but fell into disrepair and was burned down by the Forest Service in 2016.

The impressive views stretch for many miles. To the north you can see Mt. Hood and Mt. Jefferson. You can also see Three Fingered Jack and the Three Sisters.

Return the way you came.


Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • $5/day or Northwest Forest Pass
  • Mountain bikes & motorized use prohibited.

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Day Hiking Bend and Central Oregon, by Brittany Manwill
  • 100 Hikes in the Central Oregon Cascades, fourth edition, by William L. Sullivan
  • Bend, Overall, by Scott Cook
  • 100 Hikes in the Majestic Mount Jefferson Region, by Matt Reeder

More Links


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.