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Gray Butte Professional Review and Guide
"This route travels through a fragrant sage-and-juniper landscape of the Crooked River National Grasslands. At the trail’s turnaround point, you’ll have grand views of the Central Cascade Mountains."
--Lizann Dunegan, Best Easy Day Hikes: Bend & Central Oregon (Falcon Guides).
This 3.8 mile there-and-back trail is a climb on a narrow, rocky path to an amazing viewpoint. It is about a 30 minute drive from Terrebonne to the trailhead (the approach road past Skull Hollow Campground is pretty rough in places, so drive slow) and about 1.75 hours of total walking time. Be careful in the second half of the loop; with the rapid climb and rocky path it is easy to roll an ankle. The W-NW view from the Gray Butte viewpoint is extraordinary and worth every minute of the climb, it's a great place to sit and collect your thoughts for a while (and watch a sunset if timed right). It does get pretty cold and windy at the top outside of summer so dress accordingly. The climb is consistent and gradual, making it an ideal medium fitness hike. Also a great trail for those who like seclusion--it's likely you won't run into another human on the trail (though you will see plenty of range cows). Overall the seclusion and scenery make this a trail I keep returning to.
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