On the 19th of July, I had finished chasing down Multonomah's county highpoint of Buck Peak, located near the PCT as it winds its way north towards Hood River. If required a round trip effort of 15 miles in high heat and amidst vicious bloodthirsty mosquitoes making it more of a sufferfest than something you should find enjoyable. That evening, in Zig Zag, Oregon, I met up with Bob and Rhonda Bolton and we headed for a camping area near Olallie Butte so we could get an early start in the morning before the heat set in.
After a good nights rest, the Bolton's tenting it and I sleeping in my Honda's backseat, we found our way to the unmarked TH located right underneath some big power lines. The trail starts off right away gaining some elevation and in a short distance it crosses the PCT as it heads north from the Olallie Lake resort area (a store and some cabins). Climbing some 2600 feet in just under 4 miles from the TH, you find yourself in almost a desert like environment on top of this volcanic remnant known as Olallie Butte. Unbelievable views however of the north side of Mt. Jefferson await you as well as views in all directions that astound you. Olallie Lake sits at your feet, tantalizing you with its blue waters which on a hot day is very inviting.
On the summit of Olallie Butte is the remains of an old fire lookout which has pretty much degenerated into just a ground floor platform. We had a great lunch, sitting amidst some trees (not many to choose from) looking over at Jefferson and the 3 sisters beyond. After the lunch break, we headed over to the north side of the Butte and descended down red volcanic scree to acess and find the high point of Wasco county, which is located in a boulder field on the north side of Olallie Butte.
After we accomplished our mission of finding this rather strange highpoint, we made our way back UP the hill to a point where we could intersect the Olallie Butte trail on its downward path. We did pass a couple of people who were on their way up the trail and they mentioned that four people (who we missed) had set out before them so the Butte does get some traffic even though it isn't marked by a TH. William Sullivan gives a good description of where to find the TH in his book, "Exploring Oregon's Wild Areas" It was a great day to do all of this and it was sad to leave Bob and Rhonda and have to head home.
Here is a trip report by Ken Jones that will give you additional directions to find your way to the TH.