Bald Butte is a 8 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Mount Hood, OR that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and snowshoeing and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
It's featured in Matt Reeder's "Off the Beaten Trail: 50 fantastic unknown hikes in NW Oregon and SW Washington" and has truly unique views of Mt. Hood. Great in the Spring, and if you're looking to do it in January you should pack some snowshoes. There's some great info here: http://www.portlandhikersfieldguide.org/wiki/Bald_Butte_Hike
awesome view of Mt hood, rainier, adams and St helens
This trail doesn't have the jaw-dropping wildflower splendor of a place like Dog Mountain. But it also doesn't have the sketchy footing or masses of humanity racing to its summit. We saw only three other hikers on this trail from the trailhead, although we did pass a few who parked within a half mile or so of the summit and hiked up that way. And we saw maybe 15 mountain bikers. So we mostly had the trail to ourselves, which was really nice.
Lots of wildflowers to see. We saw at least 40 different varieties, including some annual favorites and some brand-new ones we haven't seen before. We saw a couple of rough-skinned newts, some lizards and quite a few butterflies who wouldn't pose for me. As we neared the summit, we saw troubling signs of vehicles and ATVs that have driven to this summit, despite it being illegal to do so.
The mileage and elevation gain are off a bit on this listing, though. My gps recorded 8.7 miles and 2,640 feet of elevation gain. Definitely bring trekking poles, as they will help on the sketchy and rocky footing on the final push to the summit (especially on the way back down).
I can't believe I made it. The 2 hour time line is deceiving for going up and back!!??. It probably is Ok if your running or for people that are in great shape.
if your just starting out it will take shot 6 hours. The first half mile is a breezy, after that it's strenuous for another 2 1/2 miles up through the switchbacks and upper trail, to a great view of Mt Hood looking over the cliffs.
The next 1/2 mile is relatively flat to the power lines. The last 1/2 hour is uphill again. You to a area which looks like you reached the top, but keep going through the woods and you'll get to a steep hill with loose rocks to the summit. Watch your self back down the hill from the summit.. I fell twice.
Good luck and take lots of water. I took 1.5 liters in my Camelback and used it all.
The last more is better
The good of this hike far outweighs the bad.
So, you're sick of The Gorge and have done every Gorge hike imaginable. Dog, Devil's, Defiance: you're done 'em all. Twice. You're down in Hood River drinking at Pfreim after coming (directly) from Double Mountain, and you need to burn off that triple IPA you just downed. What to do? Head up highway 35 a bit and you're at the Oak Ridge trailhead, which'll take you on a nice hike with a little gain up to Bald Butte. On a late spring day the wildflowers are terrific and the views of hood are spectacular.
It's unique. You'll have to deal with powerline clearcuts, crossing several logging roads, and from time to time you'll see mountain bikers. But before you decide to do Angel's Rest for the seventh time, Bald Butte has some redeeming qualities:
1. Climbing up the steep switchbacks through fields of spring grasses peppered with oak trees is very unique--I've never seen a bio-zone quite like that in oregon. 2. The views of Hood are very different from those you're used to.
3. The wildflowers were breathtaking in late may, reminiscent of Dog Mountain.
4. It's not Dog Mountain. Seriously--do you *really* want to do Dog Mountain? Again??
I enjoyed it thoroughly. It'll put a little burn in your legs, but nothing too extreme. The trail is well-kept. Fat Aunt Margaret can make it if she takes her time, and Me-Maw and Pop-Pops are golden if they bring their trekking poles. The trail is even and for the most part well-kept. Check the maps, links, and pics I attached if you want a little more info.
It's not The Gorge and it's not quite Hood: this one is something different.