Pistol Butte Trail is a 3.5 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Bend, Oregon that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length3.5 miElevation gain853 ftRoute typeOut & back
Dogs on leashHikingForestViewsWildflowersRockyScramble
Waypoints (3)
Facilities
Tips
Getting There
1
Park here
Many vehicles can't go beyond here. The road is narrow so park at this turn-off spot and start hiking from here.
43.81873, -121.56385
2
Gate
If you have a beast vehicle, you might be able to drive to this gate or beyond to cut the hike shorter. Not many vehicles will manage driving to the summit. The road is very rough and steep in spots.
43.82088, -121.55884
3
Former lookout and great view
The lookout was removed by 1969, but the foundation blocks remain. There is an amazing, clear view here. To get a clear view of Mt. Bachelor, go out a bit on the rocks.
43.81377, -121.55641

There are no bathrooms or water sources along the hike. You drive over the Deschutes River to get here and Fall River is also nearby, but neither is along the hike route.

Consider also visiting Bates Butte nearby.

From Highway 97 just south of Sunriver take the Vandervert Road exit and turn left (south) on South Century Drive. In 1.1 miles turn right to continue on Century Drive (continuing south becomes Huntington). After 6.3 miles, Century Drive makes a slight bend. Exactly at this point make a 90 degree right turn (not the sharp right) on a black gravel road (4230). After 1.1 miles, turn right on a dirt road (4230-300). You can drive as far on this road as your vehicle can handle, keeping left at the first fork. I recommend parking at the turn-around to the left 0.3 miles in, as most vehicles will have trouble at a rough, steep section shortly after that. It's very difficult to turn around on the narrow road, so this is a wise place to start the hike. High clearance 4x4 vehicles can go farther. The final right turn to the road (4230-630) up Pistol Butte is 0.6 miles total from the black gravel road or 0.3 miles beyond the recommended turn around parking spot. Turn right there, and you will see a green gate. From here there are no more road forks up to the summit. It is recommended to bring a GPS device or your phone so you don't make a wrong turn, as there are other confusing forest roads here. The trail to Pistol Butte is not marked.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (38)
Photos (43)
Activities (32)
Completed (61)
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Erin Kunz
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Hiking

Great trail once you get past the gate, fire trail to the gate is not maintained and lots of downed trees. A couple downed trees later on as well, but nothing totally impassable. View from the top and trail to yourself is worth it!

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Maya J
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HikingSnow

had to turn around 5 minutes in because i wasn't prepared to hike in snow. :(

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Laloni Christenson
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Hiking

November 9, 2020 I'm 68 and daughter is 45 years old. We had no trouble finding the trail, as it is a road. The beginning is defintely UP, but I couldn't say it's steep until nearing the end, and then it's very steep. I don't see how a vehicle gets up there, but they do! We saw several camping/hunting sites near the top. Because it was snowy, I did find a stick to help me get past the really steep part. Didn't want to slip at fall at my age. If you have a walking stick, it'd probably be good to bring! The views are to the SW mostly. Caught a glimpse of Bachelor Mountain covered in snow. It's a fun hike.....and the top is worth the climb.

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Lauren Nevins
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Hiking

hard to find trail first mile in the snow , but awesome views at the top!

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Daniel Epley
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Hiking

Road is blocked at the first Y where it says to keep left. So I parked there and walked, no signage. Virtually no trail at all until you get to the second Y, where you turn right to start going up. Area between first and second Y has been cut/logged so there's tons of branches on the ground. You can kind of follow the debris trail, and there's a few blue, yellow, orange, pink marks on trees that pretty much mark the way until you get to a big ditch with fallen tree. You'll have to cut around that to get to where the more defined trail is. I call this the second Y, you can either go straight onto another road/trail or go right to go up Pistol Butte. Worth it.

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Andy Porter
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Running
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Scott Sichler
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HikingBlowdown

Rough old FS road that goes up to the top of a butte that had a fire lookout. Views are OK. Took my Jeep almost to the top and hiked around. No real trail.

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Amanda Holland
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HikingOver grown

We struggled with this one, could not find the trail because of tons of piles of logs and brush covering it in various places. It looks like they are clearing brush right now and we also heard there was a big windstorm a couple days ago which I’m sure didn’t help. Not great for now unless you are a bit more patient (we had kids with us and it was towards the end of a busy day so we gave up after maybe 3/4 of a mile of clambering over brush)

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PhLo M
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Hiking

My second time up Pistol Butte. I fit it in after hiking Sitkum Butte nearby. The two are close enough to combine in a single hike, and many of the forest roads in the area are drivable. The brush piles mentioned on the trail are clear now. The road up behind the gate is exceedingly rough and rocky, so it's not a good idea to try to drive up all the way. It also gets crazy steep at the very end. I cut my time short at the top because it looked like a rain cloud was blowing directly toward me. I wish I would have stayed up therea while longer because the cloud seemed to take a sudden turn, or it was so low that the butte parted it down the middle. I didn't get to see the visual feast of peaks and buttes due to the low cloud rolling in to block much of the normally expansive view. The cloud itself and the sun looked cool though.

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Cody Loop
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HikingOff trailWashed out

Looks like they are clearing out brush so the first mile is almost completely covered in heavy brush! Looks like it will be cleared next week though. Great view at the top though!

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Maria U
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HikingRockySnow

There was still some patches of snow on the trail. It gets windy as you climb up to the top. It has a great view from the top. I don’t consider the trail hard. I would consider it moderate. It’s very difficult to find parking and find the trail. I suggest reading the “getting there section” for tips.

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Laura Bien
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Hiking

Starts out as a service road, but worth the extra .25 miles. Hike is steep the entire time, and gets even more steep at the end. Be sure to climb on the rocks to see the view at the top. The sisters are visible with some trees in the way.

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Jenny Anderson
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HikingBugs
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Merissa Kelley
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Hiking

This was a perfect moderate uphill trail. Took 2 dogs with me. Isolated in the greatest way possible.

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Shannon Walker
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Hiking

Starts out like many other trails in CO, on what looks like an old logging road. Views are worth it once you gain some elevation. It was pretty icy in some spots, a few inches of snow in the majority of the road.

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Kate Leese
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Lovely at the top, the rest of the trail is pretty similar. Was very do-able, albeit icy in spots in January. Would bring more of a picnic next time to stay at the look out longer before heading back down.

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PhLo M
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Hiking
First to Review

I found this hike by looking on a gps map for buttes with trails to their peaks, particularly ones with viewpoints. My original plan was to visit four or five buttes in one day. I ended up only visiting Bates and Pistol. I really enjoyed the site of the former lookout at the summit. It made me wish the lookout was still there. The view is great. I found a good parking spot for my low clearance car. Not until after I went too far and nearly got stuck. The road is so narrow that I had to drive in reverse back to the turn around spot where I parked. Impossible to turn around otherwise.

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Ross Low
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Hiking
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Zachariah Sippy
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Hiking
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Amy Parker
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Hiking
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Caroline Pandolfi
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Hiking
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Ben B
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Hiking
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Mike Leffman
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Hiking
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Tiffany Lemmons
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Hiking
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Julie Vizina
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Hiking
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Taylor Kavanaugh
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Hiking
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Larry Work
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Hiking
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Paul Dorseth
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Hiking
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