Orodruin and the Land of Mordor?

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Olallie Butte

On a cool (42 degrees at the trailhead) mid-summer’s day I hiked to the top of 7,215-foot Olallie Butte about 10 miles north of Mt. Jefferson.

The Butte, the third highest peak in Northwest Oregon, is the remnants of an old shield volcano with large basalt rock pinnacles exposed on its east side.

The vistas to the south strongly reminded me of Sauron’s land of Mordor ruled by the the volcano Orodruin. There was just enough wildfire smoke in the air to give everything a hint of magic.

The glacier-scrubbed lakes in the Olallie Basin stood sharply in contrast to the glacial majesty of 10,500-foot Mt. Jefferson. If the wind hadn’t been so cold on the summit, I might still be there enjoying the view.

On the north end of the summit block there was the remains of an abandoned fire lookout cabin built of volcanic rock. Before returning to the trailhead I got behind the rock cabin out of the wind and enjoyed a snack.

It is truly a special place.

A hazy Mt. Jefferson and the lakes of the Ollalie Basin from Olallie Butte (those with a sharp eye can spot the Three Sisters, Broken Top and Black Butte)

Alpine Fir cones

Mt. Jefferson from the upper trail

Monon Lake from the summit of Olallie Butte

The only trail marker

Mt. Jefferson (hazy due to wildfire smoke)

Lakes Hazel, Alice, Marie and Mary (lots of evidence of a bad wildfire several years ago)

The old abandoned rock cabin on the summit with a hazy Mt. Hood in the background

Mt. Jefferson from Olallie Butte

The unmarked trailhead (I was the only hiker on this day)




Categories: Oregon CascadesTags: , ,


  1. Such magnificence you share with us, John, thank you. Always great to see some of my old friends here like Mt. Hood. And Jefferson and the lakes and buttes, so lovely.

  2. Spectacular John, I like the way you stuck the BPA transmission tower at the end. Our Hoppy Hiker group always takes a moment to venerate them when we happen upon them.

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