During the Covid-19 Pandemic with many of the most popular trails shut down, we have been looking for places to hike that may still be open and accessible this time of year. Yesterday we hiked Black Butte Trail for the first time. We have lived in Central Oregon since 1985, but have never attempted this hike before. The drive to the trail head was over 5 miles of dirt road (Forest Service Road 1110), after leaving paved Forest Service Road 11 with that last mile of road very rough. But we discovered that this is a very popular hike and the parking lot was full; forest passes are required to park.
We had had a light dusting of snow the night before, so our hike started in the pines with the path highlighted by the snow on both sides. As we climbed, the snow was more prevalent in the trees and once we got close to the top, we had to traverse a slippery snow patch to reach the summit. But the views were stunning and all who were there seemed to appreciate wandering around the old fire lookout buildings and finding the best place to enjoy lunch and the Cascade views.
The hike was just under 4 miles up and back with the elevation gain 1600 feet. This is a moderate hike, not too long, with the trail pretty well maintained. With the high Cascades still closed, Black Butte has become our favorite Central Oregon hike for this time of year.