Cline Butte Loop

MODERATE 2 reviews

Cline Butte Loop is a 7.3 mile loop trail located near Eagle Crest, Oregon that offers scenic views. The trail is rated as moderate offers a number of activity options.

7.3 miles
1200 feet

mountain biking

nature trips

off road driving

trail running



no shade

1 month ago

I hiked up and around Cline Butte on a "mostly sunny" late January day.
This was my first visit to this area and I was unaware of the fact that Cline butte is less a hiking destination than a mountain biking and OHV one. Thankfully, there was no traffic (on either 2 or 4 wheels) during the 2.5 hours I spent on the trails. If your primary objective is to walk/hike, you may want to take this into account before heading out (maybe having a plan B).

I parked just on the shoulder of SW Cline Falls Rd. I saw two entrances but skipped the first (southernmost) one as it had "private property / no trespassing" signs posted and what looked like an abandoned/disabled vehicle just inside. Instead, I parked by the second/northernmost entrance (a little before and across the Juniper Trail trailhead). This is also the entrance that provides access to the rock/gravel pit/quarry... so another thing to keep in mind if the quarry is in operation (it wasn't on the Saturday I hiked).

From the entrance, i found the first dirt road on the left (southwest) and continued on it until it reached a barbed-wire fenced area. The road then turns north and follows the fence. After a while, a large opening in the fence lets you through and you can quickly turn back west, following power/telephone lines. This section is mostly flat and dishes out the usual high-desert fare (must be rather hot and dusty in the warmer months).

Around the 1.1 miles mark, a single track trail on the right marks the beginning of the ascent. This is (based on the videos I saw on Youtube later) a mountain bikers' favorite. The trail is rather steep and cut more for bikes than 2-legged creatures; it reaches the top in about 1 mile and starts providing sweeping views to the southeast to the northeast on the way up (good excuse to catch your breath).

The top of Cline Butte (the southernmost of three summits) is a closed-off government facility; however, a narrow trail goes all around the chainlink fence and covers the 360 degrees panorama above the plateau. Clouds were snagged on the Cascades summits when I got up there but the views to Broken Top, the Sisters, Washington, Three-fingers Jack, etc. must be quite nice on a clear day.

From the top, there are many different ways to get back down through a combination of rocky dirt roads and single track mountain bike trails. I opted to head straight north to the summit of the middle butte and down the other side. This opened up a very beautiful vista towards the Smith Rock and Ochoco mountains area, essentially following the spine between the two southern buttes.

The rock quarry is at the base of the northern butte on its eastern slope and I decided to avoid that rather unappealing section, returning by the side of the second butte in a south-easterly direction.

The descent from the top of Cline butte is rather steep (again a reminder that these roads/paths) are not intended for hikers and a bit of caution will avoid slipping here and there.

The whole loop was just about 4.5 waterless and mostly exposed miles (bring water and sun protection)-- a short but rewarding adventure considering the absence of vehicular activity that day.

I gave only 3 stars because of the overused feel of the route... the views on a good day would very likely deserve more.

3 months ago