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Oregon Butte

The views from the trailhead are great, and just get better for the next 1.5 miles as hikers approach the Oregon Butte Lookout as the full expanse of the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness unfolds before them in a 360 degree radius.

The hike to the lookout is 3 miles roundtrip from the Teepee Trailhead. After 1 mile, the trail branches into lower and upper routes; the lower is more direct, shadier and newer. The higher route goes past West Butte, reconnects with the trail just before the spring. At a junction with Trail 3113/6114, bear right to the lookout, which is still staffed in summer. And don't miss the spring-fed log watering trough just below Oregon Butte.
Driving Directions:

Take the Eckler Mountain Road from Dayton, WA. Follow the road for approximately 15 miles. There is a stone monument at a “Y” in the road marking the Kendall Skyline Road, turn right onto Kendall Skyline Road #46 and follow it for 12 miles toward the Godman Guard Station. Just below the Guard Station, turn left on Forest Service Road #4608. Take all main right turns for 5 miles to the Teepee Trailhead.

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There are 7 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Oregon Butte, Mount Misery — Sep 07, 2013 — C. Hansen
Day hike
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After receiving the rainy weather report for the Cascades, my brother in law and I decided to head e...
After receiving the rainy weather report for the Cascades, my brother in law and I decided to head east and hike the Blue Mountains. Specifically, we headed for the Oregon Butte Fire Lookout.

The drive from Dayton to the trail head took a little longer than expected, but was easily accomplished over well maintained roads. There was some wash-boarding but overall the road was in excellent shape. Bow hunting season had recently opened and we encountered several hunters and hunting camps/trailers along the road (Rd 46). There was also a few groups cutting and loading wood, so we drove slow.

We continued past the turnoff for road 4608 a short distance and explored the Godman forest service site and had lunch at Godman Campground. Yellowjackets and bald faced hornets showed interest in our lunch, but they weren't too aggressive and were manageable.

Once at the Teepee trailhead (Teepee Trailhead requires a Northwest Forest Pass or $5.00 per day per vehicle) we headed up the Mt. Misery trail (#3113). The trail was in good shape with nary a blowdown and care was only needed occasionally to avoid stepping in presents left from previous pack animals. Speaking of which, we encountered such a group near the top of the ridge where the spur trail heads to the lookout. They were friendly and stopped to chat. They were also the only hunter presence we saw once we left the trailhead.

Once on the ridge leading to the lookout we met another group of six that were overnighting in the area. After another chat we headed to the lookout. At the lookout we were met by the lookout who gave us a tour of the facility and was both friendly and informative.

The views from the lookout were great. To the north we could see Steptoe Butte, and then faintly behind, Mt. Spokane. To the southeast were the seven devils, and more due south, the Wallowas. Not to mention the much closer rugged ridges and ravines of the Wenaha - Tucannon Wilderness all around.

There were a few huckleberries left, all along the road to the trailhead. Didn't see any along the trail. There was also a few wildflowers still showing such as fleabane, but there were many more mushrooms starting to show, mainly boletus. The weather was great for hiking, cool and partly cloudy. It was shirtsleeves while hiking, but a breeze and temps in the mid 60's up on the ridge called for a windshirt or fleece once stopped.

The spring below the lookout (Oregon Butte Spring) was flowing so there was water if needed.

We ended up spending a couple of hours at the lookout before an uneventful hike out.

Overall, it was a good day for a hike.
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Oregon Butte — Jun 05, 2013 — MaryC
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming
Issues: Blowdowns | Mudholes | Water on trail | Snow on trail
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This hike takes you into the heart of the Blue Mtns. It is 34 miles to the trailhead from Dayton a...
This hike takes you into the heart of the Blue Mtns. It is 34 miles to the trailhead from Dayton and took about 1.5 hrs. My husband and I saw no other cars or persons after leaving Dayton. The road in is long but was in good condition. It looked like someone had been through recently clearing debris.

This hike starts at the Teepee Trailhead and although the directions to get to the trailhead are accurate in the WTA Trail guide, there are no signs by the Godman station and the road from there was 6 miles (not 5) to the trailhead. The total mileage to Oregon Butte from the trailhead is around 3 making the hike a 6 mile roundtrip NOT 3 as is listed in the WTA hike guide. It is about 2.25 to Oregon Springs and then another .75 to the top. The climb elevation to the springs is 1237 ft and it would be 1580 to the lookout.

There are no trail markers at all.

The day was warm and sunny which made for temperatures in the 60's in the forest and 70's along the ridges. The trail had a lot of snow patches which should be gone in another few weeks. The trail was easy to follow even with the mud and snow. We saw a lot of animal prints - deer and elk and ? - we thought cougar or bear and then wondered what we would do. It did not help that there is a Grizzly Bear Ridge and Cougar Creek nearby (and did I mention no other people).

Flowers are just starting with avalanche lilies all along the way. We got good views on the West Butte especially looking SE to the Eagle Cap Wilderness. Since we had gotten a late start (arriving at TeePee trailhead at 2) and the snow was slowing us down, we decided to call it quits at Oregon Springs. I think if we had left earlier it would have been no problem to get to the top. You can see in the picture of the lookout that the ridge is clear of snow.
A great day.
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Oregon Butte — Jun 30, 2012 — raring2hike
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming
Issues: Blowdowns
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Living on the western side of the state, we rarely get the opportunity to explore the beauty found o...
Living on the western side of the state, we rarely get the opportunity to explore the beauty found on the southeast edges of this great state, however, this weekend while visiting relatives near Dayton we headed up into the Blue Mountains. We thoroughly enjoyed the hike to Oregon Butte, though we are not used to having to drive on gravel roads for so many miles. But the roads were all in good condition and the Kendall Skyline road is absolutely beautiful this time of year. The road weaves along the ridge through meadows of wildflowers and passed numerous views points of the valleys below. After about 30 miles of gravel roads, we finally reached the parking lot at Teepee Trailhead where we made use of the picnic table for a quick lunch before hitting the trail to Oregon Butte.

Though rain was in the forecast, only thin clouds obscured the sun and with the gentle breeze our hike began in ideal temperatures. No bugs to speak of either. Though the flowers were profuse on the drive along Skyline, only a few varieties were blooming along the trail. There were many trees across the trail, a couple more challenging than most, but we managed to navigate over or around all of them. On the hike in we took the West Butte fork (right) which was a little hard to follow at times since there were many trees across the trail and a couple of large snow patches. However, we eventually met up with the main trail and continued toward the butte. We could see the lookout from one of the West Butte viewpoints. The trail, however, circles around the backside of the butte before following the ridge to the lookout. Before reaching the lookout, we came to another fork in the trail and though it wasn’t marked, we sensed we should go right since the right fork headed uphill and back the direction we thought we had seen the lookout from West Butte. We were glad to reach the ridge and confirm that we had taken the correct trail.

As we approached the lookout, thick clouds started forming to the east. The wind picked up significantly and fog began swirling around the valleys and over our heads, soon all views of the valleys below had vanished. It was also getting cold so we decided to head back to the car. Not more than ¼ mile from the lookout, we heard the first clap of thunder and knowing that being on the ridge during a thunder storm was probably not a good idea, we quickened our pace considerably and made it back down the trail in record time. The heavy rain began when we were about ½ mile from the car so we didn’t take the time to stop and put on jackets. While driving back down the gravel roads toward Dayton, we could see black clouds and lightning to the east and experienced a brief burst of hail. But while still on Kendall Skyline Road, streams of sunlight penetrated the clouds creating stunning light patterns on the hills and valleys encouraging us to stop and marvel at the beauty in the changing weather systems.

I should mention that though we stayed to the trail as best we could, we still came away with a couple of ticks crawling on our clothes so be sure to check after hiking this trail.

It should also be noted that this trail is 6 miles roundtrip (instead of the 3 miles currently listed in the WTA hiking guide) with elevation gain of about 980 feet.
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Oregon Butte — Aug 02, 2011 — Sasquatch
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming
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This is a great time of year to hike this trail. This year is very green and the wildflowers are fan...
This is a great time of year to hike this trail. This year is very green and the wildflowers are fantastic. The trail has been cleared, thanks to the amazing hard work of the Pomeroy Ranger District crews. The views are well worth the hike. It should be noted that this hike is closer to 3 miles one way, with an elevation gain of 900 feet. It takes about 1 to 2 hours to hike up, and about an hour down for most people. There are many options for extending this hike or creating a loop if you are looking for a greater challenge. The Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness map is useful if you want to go further than Oregon Butte.
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Oregon Butte — Jul 10, 2011 — Maria
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming
Issues: Blowdowns | Water on trail | Snow on trail
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I have taken this hike a number of times with my then-teenagers and husband, and today, took my 5-ye...
I have taken this hike a number of times with my then-teenagers and husband, and today, took my 5-year-old nephew. He is a persistent little guy who REALLY wanted to see the fire lookout, otherwise we would have turned back to the parking area at Teepee Trailhead shortly after we started! There are NUMEROUS trees blown down over the trail, with particularly difficult passage after the spring. Climbing over them was not always possible, so going around was necessary, and made me fear losing the trail at times. We did run into several remaining patches of snow, and had a great snowball fight ("in JULY!!!") which was fun. Lots of wildflowers, and a cougar print in a snow patch were the highlights. There was some disappointment when we reached the fire lookout because it was not manned (not sure why? Wet spring, low risk of fires, budget cuts, perhaps?), but quickly recovered because of the beautiful views, and snacks on the little bench outside the lookout. Gillions of huckleberries brewing, but won't be ready for another month or so, I bet.
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Oregon Butte Aaron Solem.jpg
The lookout at Oregon Butte. Photo by Aaron Solem.
Oregon Butte (#3134)
Eastern Washington -- Palouse
Umatilla National Forest
Roundtrip 6.0 miles
Elevation Gain 987 ft
Highest Point 6387 ft
Mountain views
User info
Northwest Forest Pass required
Guidebooks & Maps
Hiking Guide to Washington Geology (Carson / Babcock - Keokee) p. 219-222
Hiking Washing by Ron Adkison & David Wortman (Falcon Publishing)
USGS: Oregon Butte

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