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The trail climbs steeply for two miles up this symmetrical volcano. The trail leads through a rich diversity of forest settings. Large "yellow-belly" ponderosa pine trees give way to mixed conifer and then subalpine vegetation. In the second mile of the hike, trees thin and unsurpassed mountain views emerge. The openness of the upper portion of the trail can make for a very hot climb in the summer.

Black Butte is the site of several generations of Forest Service fire lookouts and has, therefore, played an important role in protecting Central Oregon forests for over 80 years. In 1910, lookouts worked from a platform perched in a pair of trees. The Cupola was built in 1922 and served as the primary lookout facility until 1934 when the 83 foot tower was completed. Builders estimated it would require 300 pack loads of material to construct the tower-it actually took over 1000 loads.

No water is available, either along the trail or at the summit. Be sure to pack a sufficient amount. Public toilets are available at the trailhead.

Directions: From Sisters, Proceed west on Highway 20 for six miles. Turn right onto Road 11, the Green Ridge Road, at Indian Ford Campground. Follow Road 11 for 4 miles to the "Black Butte Trailhead" sign. A left turn onto Road 1110 will lead 4 miles to the trailhead.

Elevation: 4,800 feet

Ending Elevation: 6,440 feet

Elevation Gain: 1,640 feet

Distance: 4.0 miles

Difficulty: Strenuous

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Deschutes National Forest, Oregon

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The details, dates, and prices mentioned here were accurate at the time of publication.

Review by Wildernet Copyright © 2010 all rights reserved.