Pelican Butte

Rocky Point, Oregon

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Consider this an “endangered trail,” because if the political winds shift, this area might become a ski resort. Developers in Klamath Falls are itching to turn Pelican Butte into a year-round resort area, forever changing the nature of this stellar wildlife viewing spot. But while it’s intact, Pelican Butte is a marvelous landmark in the Klamath Basin area. The spot is a well-known haunt for bald eagles and other wilderness creatures. It’s no wonder that it has been nominated for wilderness area status to protect it from development and logging. In the meantime, Pelican Butte offers great views of the Klamath Wildlife Refuge, Mount McLoughlin, and the Sky Lakes Wilderness Area. Sprawling old ponderosa pines, some hundreds of years old, cover the slopes of Pelican Butte. It’s in these big old trees that you’re most likely to glimpse bald eagles, which use their branches to spot their prey. Although Pelican Butte is named for the white pelicans that frequent the wildlife refuge, don’t count on seeing any while you’re on snowshoes. In the winter, they’re far away in warmer climes. Instead watch for osprey, which fly up and down the wide basin.

Pelican Butte Professional Review and Guide

"Consider this an “endangered trail,” because if the political winds shift, this area might become a ski resort. Developers in Klamath Falls are itching to turn Pelican Butte into a year-round resort area, forever changing the nature of this stellar wildlife viewing spot. But while it’s intact, Pelican Butte is a marvelous landmark in the Klamath Basin area. The spot is a well-known haunt for bald eagles and other wilderness creatures. It’s no wonder that it has been nominated for wilderness area status to protect it from development and logging. In the meantime, Pelican Butte offers great views of the Klamath Wildlife Refuge, Mount McLoughlin, and the Sky Lakes Wilderness Area.

Sprawling old ponderosa pines, some hundreds of years old, cover the slopes of Pelican Butte. It’s in these big old trees that you’re most likely to glimpse bald eagles, which use their branches to spot their prey. Although Pelican Butte is named for the white pelicans that frequent the wildlife refuge, don’t count on seeing any while you’re on snowshoes. In the winter, they’re far away in warmer climes. Instead watch for osprey, which fly up and down the wide basin."

Activity Type: Snowshoeing
Nearby City: Rocky Point
Distance: 9
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Difficult
Season: April through June
Trailhead Elevation: 5,800 feet
Top Elevation: 8,036 feet
Local Contacts: Winema National Forest, Klamath Ranger District
Local Maps: USFS Sky Lakes Wilderness
Driving Directions: Directions to Pelican Butte

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May 2018