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The Black Butte Trail is a 4.9-mile out-and-back trail that takes you to the summit of Black Butte, an extinct volcano. The total elevation gain is around 3,000 feet. The trail is well-maintained but can be rocky and steep in sections. On a clear day, the views from the summit are panoramic, taking in the Three Sisters, Mount Washington, Three Fingered Jack, Mount Jefferson, Mount Hood, and Mount St. Helens.

 

Map at the trailhead.

 

The steep and rocky trail is well marked, with switchbacks leading to the summit of Black Butte. There are mountain bike trails that also circle the butte. These trails will connect you to Sisters via the Sisters Tie Trail or to Summit Lake using the Lake Creek Trail.

The lower trailhead parking lot will fill up early on weekends, but parking on Forest Road 1430 is allowed. The trail starts with a mild climb to the Upper Butte Loops Trail junction.

 

 

Continue on Black Butte Trail 4026 as it steepens through forests of Ponderosa and White Bark Pine trees. In another mile, you will reach the Upper Black Butte Trailhead, where day hikers tend to start. Vegetation signs are posted along the trail.

 

One of the many Ponderosa Pines along the trail.

 

Eventually, the trail breaks out of the forest along a ridge, where the Three Sisters appear above Black Butte Ranch.

 

The Three Sisters, Broken Top, and Black Butte Ranch 1/2 mile from the summit.

 

The trail becomes more technical and zigzags through switchbacks until the summit is visible. At the summit is the Cupola Lookout. Continue down the trail to the viewpoint, which describes all the volcanoes in view.

 

The Cupola Lookout at the summit.

 

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Head down to the parking lot for a fun descent to complete the almost ten-mile run.

 

The Black Butte Viewpoint has signs and views for the Cascade Volcanoes from Broken Top to Mt. Adams.

 

 

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