Bald Butte Hike Oregon - Exploring My Life

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Bald Butte Hike Oregon

Bald Butte Hike in Mt Hood National Forest

Bald Butte Trail is an 8.8 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Mt Hood, Oregon that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. In addition, it has truly unique views of Mt. Hood.  Great in the spring for wild flowers.
Bald Butte Trail Wild Flower Hike Oregon
Oregon Wild Flowers Hike
Mount Hood View from Bald Butte
This is a quiet all-season trail that offers a variety of terrain (Snowshoes need to be worn in winter). Large open meadows, heavily wooded mixed forest, and a ridge-top ramble take you to a former lookout site with spectacular views of the Hood River Valley. This hike uses two different trails; it's a 2.3 mile climb up the Oak Ridge Trail; then it's 1.8 miles on the Surveyors Ridge Trail to Bald Butte. Late spring is the best time to visit: that's when the shady woods, the open slopes on the Oak Ridge Trail, and the meadows atop Bald Butte come alive with wildflowers. Bear in mind that ATVs also access Bald Butte via the power line corridor, and mountain bikers ride the Surveyors Ridge Trail.

·        Start point: Oak Ridge Trail-head Road
·        End point: Bald Butte
·        Hike Type: Out and Back
·        Distance: 8.2 miles round trip
·        Elevation gain: 2465 feet
·        High point: 3,779 feet
·        Difficulty: Moderate
·        Seasons: All, but will require snowshoes in the winter

The hike begins on Hood River County property and travels on Oak Ridge Trail #688A through a former clear-cut with young ponderosa pines, oaks and shrubs, such as serviceberry and flowering currant. Cross a road and switchback up three times in woods, make a traverse and switchback again. There’s another switchback at a meadow and then four more switchbacks in oak-fringed meadows. The trail enters Douglas-fir, ponderosa pine, and oak woodland. Keep rising, and enter an open area with a view of Mount Hood.
Bald Butte Hike Portland
Bald Butte Hike in Mt Hood

Mt Hood National Forest Bald Butte

Bald Butte Trail Wildflower Hike
Balsamroot and Columbia desert parsley (Lomatium columbianum) bloom here in the spring. There are several short switchbacks as you continue up the slope and enter mixed forest again. Pass a wooden gate and a fence line, and then switchback five more times into an open area with another full-on view of Mount Hood. Traverse up and switchback three more times in a forest of Douglas-fir, grand fir, and ponderosa pine with a carpet of Oregon grape. You will see the gray-green clumps of mistletoe on some of the branches. The trail crosses the 640 spur road, and reaches the Surveyors Ridge-Oak Ridge Trail Junction.
Arrowleaf balsamroot Hike
Balsamorhiza and  Columbia desert parsley

Turn left on the Surveyor's Ridge Trail #688, and head gently down. The trail recrosses the road and a sign tells you that you’re leaving National Forest land. Enter an area of clear-cuts where chinquapin bushes line the trail. The path continues to drop a little. Below are rocky palisades offering views across the Hood River Valley. The trail drops further to a saddle where the power lines come across in a wide clear-cut corridor.

There are great views of the Hood River Valley across to Mount Defiance. The trail levels as you enter shady Douglas-fir woods. Drop down to another saddle and then, on open meadows, hike up a rubbly track to the open area at the top of Bald Butte. On a clear day, there are great views to Mount Hood and the Cascade crest in Washington: Mount Saint Helens is fully visible and Mount Adams lurks behind the Butte.

Note: It is possible to turn this hike into a loop by returning via the power line road, which will take you back to the Oak Ridge Trail near the parking area.
Bald Butte Hike Oregon
Oregon Bald Butte Hike

How to Reach : Drive I-84 east to Hood River and take Exit 64 for White Salmon and Government Camp.
Turn right, and then right again immediately. Drive 0.3 miles to a four-way stop. Keep straight here on Highway 35 South for Odell, Parkdale and Mt. Hood.
Drive 15 miles and turn left on Smullin Road (the sign may be hidden behind tree branches), which is one mile past the Hood River Ranger Station.
Drive 0.3 miles and make a left onto a gravel road. Park in the circular parking area here.

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