The best way to get to this peak is from Dayton Washington. Turn south on 4th street which also has a sign simply stating SKI on it. This is the route to the ski area SKI BLUEWOOD and, carefully obeying the speed limit, continue 5 miles to a turn on the left which is the unpaved Hatley Gulch road. Go 4.4 miles to its end and turn right onto graveled Skyline Drive. Stay on this road until you go 6 miles and come to a sign indicating that Godman Springs is 12 miles to the right. Turn right on this road and in one mile you come to the Umatilla National Forest. Take the left fork and now you will truly be on Skyline Drive. In some places the road tops the ridge and you have views down into canyons on both sides. Truly one of the unsung scenic roads in our state. In 10.6 miles, you come to a fork in the road, take the left one (FS 4608). If you go to the right you'll end up going uphill to the Godman Springs Campground. It is 6.3 miles on this road to TeePee Trailhead. Prior to reaching the trailhead, you come to a three way fork (about the 4 mile mark) in the road, one of which goes uphill. Take the right fork, this is the one that leads to TeePee trailhead.
Route DescriptionThe trail is known as the Mt. Misery trail, but the Oregon Butte part is not the misery part. The trail starts off from the TH area by entering the woods and ascending an easy grade to the top of a ridge. The trail drops a bit to a fork in a meadow and you can either take the high road (right fork) or the low road (left fork) See this site for an interesting sidelight on the Mt. Misery Trail.
Both trails join up in another half mile but the "high" road takes you up to a ridgeline with some nice views to the southwest before dropping steeply back down to join the "low" road. As you begin to drop down from the "high" road, you will begin to see the lookout cabin off in the distance and of course, that is your objective. Both trails reconverge and drop for a bit to a saddle. At a spring (complete with log and pipe), the trail starts up to the left and wraps itself upward with some switchbacks but this is the long way. Just shortly after the spring, look for a use trail heading directly up the hill. This is the short cut and the trail the lookouts use to come down to get water. I'm not sure if you need to filter the water or not, but then I always filter everything. From where the use trail starts up, it is only ten or fifteen minutes to the top although the other trail will get you up there in about twenty minutes. The other trail is of a more gentle grade for horses.
For those interested in the high point of Columbia County:
A pile of rocks about 150 feet north of the lookout are worth investigating but didn't appear to be the highest point on the ridge.
It seemed that the highest point was actually under the lookout station. A benchmark is just to the left of the steps but I was informed by the lookout, Charlie, that the Benchmark had been removed from its previous position (which would have been exactly under the center of the lookout, built in 1933). I was given a royal tour of the lookout by the two very nice lookout caretakers, Bev and Charlie. Their favorite times in the lookout (they had been there several summers) was during an electrical storm. Charlie's face lit up when he talked about them; "they are exciting" he exclaimed. They have to sit on special insulation stools during a storm. When I asked if there was anything they appreciated from visitors, both were quick to say "Fruits and vegetables". They had many fun and interesting stories but after an hour and a half I felt that I had overstayed my welcome and returned by a shortcut they told me about to the trail, intersecting it at the spring. The short-cut trail goes uphill from just beyond the spring rather than following the horse trail which contours to the north.
Total miles 6 and elevation gained under a thousand feet. A great hike on a nice summer day. The lookout couple are worth the visit, very enjoyable people who are very dedicated to their important work.