May 1, 2016
Bald Butte Via the Oak Ridge Trail #668A
By: Mary Pellegrini
A hike to the top of Bald Butte is a great choice for an early season hike in the Upper Hood River Valley! A wonderful display of Mt Hood National Forest wildflowers, Lupine, Balsam Root, Indian Paintbrush, to name a few, covers the hillside from mid-April through June. The views from the Butte are amazing, overlooking the Hood River Valley and spectacular views of Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams, Mt. St.Helens, and Mt. Rainier. Vegetation varies between stands of oak on the lower hillside with fir and pine at the higher elevations and on the north facing slopes
Trail head elevation 1900′ to 3,780′ top of Bald Butte
Difficulty – Moderate/Strenous
Trail ascends Oak Ridge via a series of switchbacks passing through open, grassy slopes and stands of Oregon White Oak. After the first mile, trail enters mixed oak and fir and eventually the oak is left behind. Near the top of the ridge the Oak Ridge Trail connects with the Surveyor’s Ridge Trail. Hike 1.8 miles North to the top of Bald Butte for the unsurpassed views of the Valley below and the 4 volcanic peaks of the Oregon and Washington Cascades.
For the very fit and adventurous mountain bikers this trail can be combined with the Surveyor’s Ridge Trail, #688 back and down the Dog River Trail #675, a total of about 25 miles to and from the Old Parkdale Inn.