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Pilot Butte

Pilot Butte

Pilot Butte

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Oregon, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 44.06052°N / 121.28326°W

Object Title: Pilot Butte

County: Deschutes

Activities: Hiking

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Elevation: 4138 ft / 1261 m


Page By: EastKing

Created/Edited: Oct 3, 2014 / Oct 4, 2014

Object ID: 916018

Hits: 1487 

Page Score: 81.02%  - 13 Votes 

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Nighttime arrives over Bend
Downtown Bend from Pilot Butte at night

I actually am surprised that this summit somehow either disappeared on SummitPost or never made it to SummitPost. This quirky summit is very popular with many of the locals in Bend Oregon. Pilot Butte is one of only four volcanoes that are completely within the limits of a city of the United States. Portland (Mount Tabor), Honolulu (Diamond Head), and Jackson, Mississippi (Jackson Volcano) are the others.  The cinder cone rises 500 feet from the city base and has an extensive park system around it. Each day this summit sees very heavy traffic from both hikers and drivers. As for the views on a clear day they are excellent. Being up here is an absolute must provide you are aware hundreds of others already know about this peak providing good sunset shots. Thousands of summits can be seen from Pilot Butte including Mount Jefferson, The Sister, Mount Bachelor, and Mount Theilson. Because of this stunning view the state of Oregon made this a State Scenic Viewpoint.

Mount Bachelor
Mount Bachelor from Pilot Butte
View of the sprawl in Bend
Another view of Bend through the rain

The easiest way to get to this summit is by car. There is a trailhead to the east that rises to the summit which rises roughly in 1.6 miles round trip and 500 feet of elevation gain. The trail is in good condition and rises up at a moderate pitch. This is a running and hiking trail and does not require any special footwear. There is also a good exercise area at the trailhead. Each year in September they a challenge to see who is the fastest person to climb Pilot Butte. Many of the times are just above 7 minutes. Somehow though I think there some 
SummitPost writer out there that can beat the times. 

Sunset over Bend Oregon
Downtown Bend from Pilot Butte.
Looking toward newbury Crater
Newbury Crater from Pilot Butte.

Getting There

This summit is very noticeable from all of Bend. The summit is three miles east of downtown Bend. Take Greenwood Avenue to right at the foot of Pilot Butte. On the west side is the turnoff to the road to the summit. On the eastside is the trailhead to the trail to the summit. 


Trail heading uphill
The trail up Pilot Butte
Views of Bend through the rain
View of Bend through the rain
The route up Pilot Butte by trail is relatively easy. The trail which rises up the summit at a moderate pitch as it passes through both brown and red soil on the way up to the open summit with great views of Bend Oregon.

Pilot Butte Map
Pilot Butte Map

Red Tape

Park hours vary during the year based on the sunrise and sunset of the particular season. There is no overnight parking.

When to Climb

You can hike this mountain at any time of the year. The road after winter snows is likely to be closed though.


Camping is PROHIBITED ON PILOT BUTTE. This is urban summit. There is a couple of campsites located near Bend. This link will show you all of them in the Bend Area

External Links

Pilot Butte Peakbagger Page


Mount BachelorNighttime arrives over BendLooking toward newbury CraterPilot Butte from the parking areaTrail heading uphillThe summit plaqueLooking over downtown Bend
Pilot Butte MapThe view despite the rainView of the sprawl in BendLava Butte from Pilot ButteSunset over Bend OregonMy footwear on this trailCloseup of the sunset
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