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The trail climbs steeply for two miles up this symmetrical volcano. The trail leads through a rich diversity of forest settings. Large “yellow-belly” ponderosa pine trees give way to mixed conifer and then subalpine vegetation. In the second mile of the hike, trees thin and unsurpassed mountain views emerge. The openness of the upper portion of the trail can make for a very hot climb in the summer.

Black Butte is the site of several generations of Forest Service fire lookouts and has, therefore, played an important role in protecting Central Oregon forests for over 80 years. In 1910, lookouts worked from a platform perched in a pair of trees. The Cupola was built in 1922 and served as the primary lookout facility until 1934 when the 83 foot tower was completed. Builders estimated it would require 300 pack loads of material to construct the tower-it actually took over 1000 loads.

No water is available, either along the trail or at the summit. Be sure to pack a sufficient amount. Public toilets are available at the trailhead.

What’s around here? Location & Nearby Things to See & Do

These maps and directions are for planning purposes only. You may find that construction projects, traffic, or other events may cause road conditions to differ from the map results. For travel options, weather and road conditions, visit tripcheck.com, call 511 (in Oregon only), 800.977.6368 or 503.588.2941.

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