TraditionalMountaineering Logo - representing the shared 
companionship of the Climb

Home | Information | Photos | Calendar | News | Seminars | Experiences | Questions | Updates | Books | Conditions | Links | Search

  Search this site!
Read more!

500 feet up Pilot Butte

Located right in the middle of Bend, Pilot Butte affords views of the high desert, the town, and the Cascades in all directions. Photo by Deanna Darr/The Bulletin.

By Deanna Darr
The Bulletin
September 14, 2000

Redmond has the Dry Canyon, its version of an easily accessed in-town hike, but Bend has Pilot Butte — a slightly more elevated outing.

That impossible-to-miss butte, right in the middle of Bend, has a well-known trail popular with those in search of a quick workout. But this scenic area is far more than an outdoor gym.

Pilot Butte offers two trails, both a mile long and one of them paved. To the east, check out the High Desert from the butte’s summit. To the west, check out the Cascades. It’s a great way to see the sights without having to tackle the area’s more difficult trails.

Pilot Butte is more than just a mound of dirt in the middle of town. It’s a state park with a full parking lot and a park host in the summer.

From the trailhead, found just off of Highway 20, a short paved path leads up to a small trail junction. The dirt trail to the right is the nature trail, which is slightly longer and steeper than the paved road trail to the left.

The road trail is accessed by continuing to follow the paved path to the two-lane road that leads to the summit. The roads gains elevation at a steady rate and is especially popular with those who have a more difficult time walking, anyone pushing a stroller or the occasional few who enjoy a little self-torture by running or biking up.

Under normal circumstances the road is open to vehicle traffic during the summer, but a continuing maintenance and construction project on the south side of the butte has closed the road from a point just before the start of the walking trail. The project is scheduled to be completed by June 30.

The unpaved nature trail is a great alternative for more advanced hikers or those who enjoy getting off the pavement.

Depending on the weather, the north side of the nature trail can get a bit icy during the winter. Because the trail is narrow, a little ice can be a big challenge.

A small interpretive area at the summit helps hikers identify the mountains spread out before them, and on a clear day there’s a lot to identify.

Another great feature of Pilot Butte is that dogs are allowed on the trails. As a courtesy to other hikers, dogs should be kept on leashes and owners should clean up after them. Sanitation bags are provided at the trailhead.

Because of its short length and the variety of difficulty levels, Pilot Butte makes a great place to take out-of-town visitors to show them what’s so special about Central Oregon. It’s also an easy way to remember why so many call the region home.

Getting There: 
The trailhead parking area is located off of Highway 20, just east of the Butte. Signs point the way and there is plenty of parking.
Round trip distance: about two miles.
Access: hikers, walkers, families with young children.  
Special features: dogs allowed on leashes.

Other Activities:  
• Bike to the top along the road trail.  
• Drive to the summit for the view when the road is open to vehicle traffic.




Read more . . .
  The Badlands Wilderness
Bend Oregon Badlands WSA hiking map available from BLM
Hunters who use ATVs are hurting Oregon's elk population
BLM's final UDRMP opens Bend's Badlands to Geocaching
BLM's final UDRMP closes Bend's Badlands WSA to motorized vehicle use
Wilderness workshop for USDA Forest Service held by University of Idaho
BLM's UDRMP plans for Badlands deal with exploding public use
Map, compass and GPS navigation training Noodle in The Badlands
Deschutes County Commissioners fail to support Badlands Wilderness!
Deschutes County takes no position on Badlands Wilderness
Deschutes County Commissioner DeWolf supports Badlands Wilderness
OpEd - Dirt road through The Badlands must close
Photos of Road 8 damage sent to Commissioners
Badlands Wilderness with a road?
The Badlands have unique interest for the hiker
BLM guidelines for Geocaching on public lands
Geocaching on Federal Forest Lands
OpEd - Geocaching should not be banned in the Badlands
Fee Demo groundwork may save Geocaching on our public lands
Protest of exclusion of Geocaching in Badlands WSA in BLM's UDRMP
BLM's UDRMP puts Bend's Badlands off limits to Geocaching
Deschutes County Commissioners hearing on Badlands Wilderness support
OHV use restricted in Upper Deschutes Resource Management Plan
Winter hiking in The Badlands WSA just east of Bend
Tread Lightly OHV USFS tip of the month
OHVs to be held to designated trails by USDA Forest Service!
New pole shows Badlands Wilderness favored by voters
BLM posts Reward for information on Juniper rustlers
BLM weighing public input on management plan
Oregon's Badlands hit by old growth Juniper rustlers  Photos
Congressman Greg Walden to visit The Badlands
Badlands Wilderness endorsed by COTA
OpEd - Unregulated OHV use is being reviewed across the western states
OHV use curtailed by new USFS policy decisions
Sierra Club's Juniper Group supports Badlands Wilderness
OHV regulation discussed at BLM meeting in Bend, Oregon
OpEd - Badlands part of BLM's recreation management area
OpEd - We need the Badlands Wilderness
OpEd - Off-roaders have no reason to fear Badlands Wilderness designation
Speak for the Badlands at Town Hall Meeting
Hiking poles are becoming essential gear
Vandals destroy ancient pictographs in the Badlands
Senator Wyden tests support of Badlands Wilderness
Badlands Wilderness endorsed by Bend City Commissioners
The Badlands: proposed for Wilderness status
The Badlands unique geologic forms explained by Chitwood  pdf
The Badlands, a brief history
The Badlands pictographs reported 75 year ago


Mountain climbing has inherent dangers that can in part, be mitigated