Hike Bessie Butte to Kelsey Butte for a Walk in the Woods

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Bend Premier Real Estate 200009031

With snow falling in the Cascades, it is becoming harder to find places to take a long hike in Central Oregon without snow shoes or cross country skies. Last Saturday we decided to re-hike the 1.4 mile, 500 foot elevation gain Bessie Butte trail located off China Hat and then take the Swamp Wells Trail through the Deschutes National Forest to Kelsey Butte, located roughly 5 miles south of Bessie Butte. The trail, lightly covered with snow, was easy to follow and our research on the hike showed it to be one for mountain bikers as well as hikers.  The Swamp Wells Trail, if followed its entire length, eventually will end at Newberry Crater after 20 plus miles with a lot of elevation gain in that final push.  During our hike through the woods we saw only one other person, a woman with her dog, but did follow one set of mountain bike tracks for much of the way.

If you enjoy walking in the forest, this is a great place to go. It wasn't until we were half way up Kelsey Butte that we came out of the trees and could view the forest we had walked through along with views of all the buttes around us plus vistas of the Cascades. It was a cloudy day, but I am sure on a clear day there would be views all the way to Mt. Hood. After walking around the base of Kelsey Butte, we returned to our car left at the Bessie Butte Trailhead. All in all, with the quick up and back on Bessie Butte, we estimated our hike was between 11 and 12 miles. Although not having the "wow" views we love so much when we hike in the mountains, this walk through the Deschutes National Forest was very fulfilling and gave us some great exercise after our Christmas meal. And for those who enjoy solitude, you can't beat the lack of crowds.


Bessie Butte Bessie Butte

Kelsey Butte

Original blog can be read at Bend Premier Real Estate's blog page.

Comments (5)

Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

What a beautiful hike. Thanks for sharing with us and inspiring us to get up and move

Dec 31, 2020 02:45 PM
Ed Silva
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

What a pretty view in the first photo.  Makes one almost want to see what's on the other side.  Did you take a photo of the other side?

Dec 31, 2020 03:24 PM
Lynnea Miller

Hi Ed.  The other side can be seen from the view from the sign. We hiked straight up the butte, but were coming back via the trail. The wind was really blowing at the top and on the west side of the butte where the trail down begins.  I was hurrying as fast as I could to get around to the northern/eastern side of the butte where the wind wasn't blowing so hard.

Jan 01, 2021 02:29 PM
James Dray
Fathom Realty - Bentonville, AR
Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results

Morning Lynnea.

Do they have cabins for old folks to stay during the walk?  Just can't make that distance anymore.

Jan 01, 2021 01:10 AM
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much for sharing your hiking and your photographs.

Happy New Year!

Jan 01, 2021 06:22 AM
Rocky Dickerson
Realty One Group - Las Vegas, NV
Superior Service!

Good morning and Happy New Year Lynnea Miller always love the beautiful pictures of your hikes

Jan 01, 2021 07:05 AM