Barefoot Hiking in Deschutes National Forest: Black Butte
|Mount Jefferson with fire from Black Butte|
|The start of the climb up Black Butte|
|Massive Ponderosa Pine along the Black Butte trail|
One benefit of barefoot hiking that I have noticed is seeing a lot more big game. Even on this heavily used trail I saw a few deer before they ran into the brush. Other hikes have had similar results. Black Butte is a landmark that I have passed many times on trips through the Cascades and until recently I had never thought to hike it. I had limited time and was craving some epic views and Ponderosa Pine forests, so Black Butte sounded like the perfect hike.
|View of the Cascades through the Pines|
|Three Finger Jack from the Black Butte trail|
Shortly after you begin the climb you will switchback out of the relatively cool Pine forest and into an open hillside. The dirt went from being somewhat cool to being downright hot in some places as I climbed into this section. Thankfully not long after you come into the open you circle around the northeast side and summit Black Butte.
|The last stretch before the summit|
|Fairly new Forest Service marker and lookout|
Black Butte is still an active fire lookout so you're not allowed to be near the tower or next to a newer cabin that is build on the northwest side of the Butte. Though you can explore near the Cupola Cabin that was the original fire lookout built in 1922, it is one of the only cabins like this left in the US.
|Current residence for employees|
|Cupola Cabin near the summit of Black Butte|
Because of Black Butte's over 3,000 foot prominence you have incredible views in all directions.
|View towards the Sisters|
Directions from Sisters: Drive 6.3 miles west Highway 20, turn right on FR 11 then follow for 3.9 miles, then turn left onto FR 1110 follow for 5.5 miles(dirt) until road end at parking area. The last section of road was very rough
Hike Distance:Approximately 4 miles round trip
Hike Type: Out and Back
Elevation Gain: 1,640 feet
Highest Point: 6,440
Difficulty: 3 out of 5
Fees: 5 dollars or a Northwest Forest Pass