Deschutes National Forest, Oregon – Hike to Black Butte

Black Butte is an ancient cinder cone from a long extinct volcano. It is probably responsible for much of the lava around this area of Oregon. Black Butte is just west of Sisters, Oregon and north of the Three Sisters Wilderness. We hiked the Butte with the hope of getting a good view of the impressive Sisters.

The weather was not cooperating at the start but the forecast was for clearing in the afternoon. The hike is two miles long and 1,600 feet of vertical to 6,436 feet; pretty much a relentless uphill slog. The well maintained, and obviously well used, trail wound it’s way through a beautiful Ponderosa Pine forest for the first mile.

Mile two, now starting to reach into the soon to disappear clouds, was more open and we could see the shape of the cinder cone above us, but the world disappeared into the clouds beyond.

The last quarter mile, now completely enveloped by the “partly sunny” skies gave us a beautiful view of the clouds.

Actually, it was quite interesting as the clouds swirled around the top of the butte and a front roared in from behind us to the west.

Unfortunately we didn’t get any good pictures of the Three Sisters, but tomorrow we will drive over MacKenzie Pass, blue skies are forecast, and we will get some pictures of these fantastic peaks. The weather started to break as we headed down and while the mountains were still cloud covered, Cheryl got some nice pictures of the valley floor.

Pinemat Manzanita on the Cinder Cone.

Here’s a picture of Black Butte, taken the following day from McKenzie Pass.

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