A High Summit Hike in Northwest Oregon


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Oregon Cascades

On a gorgeous late summer day I hiked to the top of 7,215-foot Olallie Butte. The third highest peak in Northwest Oregon is ten miles north of Mt. Jefferson.

The Butte is the remnants of an old shield volcano with large basalt rock pinnacles exposed on its east side, and a natural arch on its southeast side.

Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel

After about three miles the trail left the sub-alpine forest and swung around to the southwest side of the Butte, providing views of a very hazy Mt. Jefferson (wildfire smoke) and the myriad of lakes on the Olallie Plateau. Black and red volcanic rocks of all sizes covered the alpine landscape on the upper Butte with whitebark pine and alpine spruce becoming the dominant trees.

From there it was a short, but steep climb to the top which covered an area the size of a football field. On the north end was the remains of an abandoned fire lookout cabin built of volcanic rock with Mt. Hood visible in the background.

I took off the pack and spent time enjoying the views. It is truly one of the beautiful spots in the Pacific Northwest, although the wildfire smoke hindered the views of Mt. Jefferson and the Sisters on this day.

Mt. Hood in back of the old wildfire lookout cabin made of rocks

Whitebark Pine on summit (lakes are 3,000 feet below)

Alpine Juniper and Alpine Daisy

Natural arch on summit

Alpine Spruce lining the trail on the final ascent to the summit

View of Olallie Lake from upper trail

Mt. Jefferson above the Olallie Plateau (lots of wildfire smoke)

A clearer view of the Olallie Plateau to the West

Mt. Hood above Olallie Meadows

At the 7,000-foot level

Mt. Jefferson behind the lakes in the Olallie Basin

Mt. Jefferson behind the lakes in the Olallie Basin (from a previous hike when there was no wildfire smoke)

 

Categories: Oregon CascadesTags: ,

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