Hike 48
The Mt. Hood National Forest
Gordon Butte Overlook Hike
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Map of the Gordon Butte Overlook Hike

Length: 4 mi RT
Elevation Change: 728' gain
Season: Summer thru Fall
Difficulty:    Moderate
Permit: NW Forest Pass Not Required


 Click for PDF Topo Map of this Hike 

This is an unusual hike in many ways. I call this the Gordon Butte Overlook Hike, but the trail name is actually the Douglas Cabin Trail. I'm sorry, but I don't know why.

This trail eventually goes all the way to Flag Point which is about 6 miles away. I did the entire distance when I explored this area and took the images for this hike, but I would never recommend the hike to all the way to Flag Point to anyone. After the first couple miles, it becomes obvious that the trail has not been logged out for at least a hundred years. OK, maybe 50, but you get the point.

However, I include this hike because the first couple miles are logged out and fairly easy to follow. And after the trail passes over the northern shoulder of Gordon Butte, it takes you out onto an open area with some really spectacular views; ranging from the Sister's area to the south to Mt. Hood which is northwest of the viewpoint.

I like this hike because it is on the dry side of the Mt. Hood National Forest, and because of the large Ponderosa Pine trees that grow along the trail. Whenever the weather is iffy on the west side of the mountains, it is likely that the 90 mile drive to this hike will give you at the least a dry hike and at the most spectacular views.

The hike never gets very steep, but near the end of the hike where the viewpoints are located, the trail does drop suddenly and steeply but only for a few hundred feet. Of course you have to climb back up that few hundred feet to return to your vehicle, but it is worth it.

And in the late spring, the wild flowers are abundant, adding yet another reason to give this hike a try.

A glimpse of Flag Mountain Lookout
from the Gordon Butte trail
How to get there:

 Click for PDF Directions Map of this Hike 

There are a number of ways to reach the trailhead to this hike. I choose to approach the area from the north, by heading south from Hood River on Hwy 35. Then taking Forest Road 44 east toward Dufur until I reached the junction with Forest Road 4420, which takes you south toward Fifteen Mile Camp and Flag Point. However, FR 4420, cuts off to the west, and you need to then follow Forest Road #2730 which takes you past Fifteen Mile Camp, and past FR 200 to Flag Point, and east toward Tygh Valley. Up to this point the road is paved, but when you leave the Mt. Hood National Forest land, the road becomes gravel. It will remain gravel until you come to the junction with Forest Road 27.

At this point, you will need to make a very sharp right turn, onto FR 27 which will then lead you to Forest Road 2710. Again, you will need to make a very tight right turn onto FR 2710, which will take you southeast and about a mile after you cross Little Badger Creek, you will need to bear right onto Forest Road 2711. Follow FR 2711 only a short distance, then turn right onto Forest Road 120. Follow FR 120 for about 3/4 of a mile, and the road will split, bear left. This primitive road will take you in about 2.5 miles to the Gordon Butte Trailhead, which is actually labeled the Douglas Cabin Trail #470.

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