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Rock Creek Butte
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Rock Creek Butte

Rock Creek Butte

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Oregon, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 44.81670°N / 118.1025°W

Object Title: Rock Creek Butte

County: Baker

Activities: Scrambling

Season: Summer, Fall

Elevation: 9106 ft / 2776 m


Page By: cmc56789

Created/Edited: Aug 9, 2004 / Jan 26, 2014

Object ID: 152910

Hits: 19268 

Page Score: 88.81%  - 28 Votes 

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Rock Creek Butte from Elkhorn...

At 9,106 feet, Rock Creek Butte is the highest point in the Blue Mountains of Oregon. Rock Creek Butte lies on Elkhorn Ridge along with Elkhorn Peak about 14 miles west of Baker City, Oregon. The Elkhorns are separated from the Wallowas by the Baker Valley. The view from the top ranges from the Wallowas in the East to the Strawberry Mountains in the West. Mountain goats can usually be found near Twin Lakes and on the Mountain itself. Judging by the summit register, Rock Creek Butte is usually summited by fewer than 20 parties a year. Rock Creek Butte is #5 on the list of Oregon peaks with over 2000 feet of prominence.

The southern Elkhorn Mountains are composed of material that was once deep oceanic mud and cherts, which lithified to form the sedimentary rock argillite. Between 220 and 180 million years ago, these rocks were accreted to the advancing North American continent. They were severely folded and faulted in the process. Since about 8 million years ago, faults have raised the Elkhorn Mountains more than a mile and created the Baker Valley. Ice Age glaciers have since carved the many cirques and U-shaped valleys seen in the Elkhorns today.

Gold was discovered in this area in 1862, sparking the gold mining boomtowns of Auburn, Sumpter, Bourne, Granite, and Greenhorn. The gold boom has passed, but there are still a few active claims left in the area.

There is no trail to Rock Creek Butte’s summit, but the Elkhorn Crest trail crosses it’s southwestern slope, and the final half mile is an easy scramble. The Elkhorn Crest trail can be accessed from either Marble Pass, or via the Twin Lakes trail. Marble pass is a gentler trail, but getting there requires high clearance and possibly 4 wheel drive. The Twin Lakes trail is steeper, but is much easier on your car. The round trip distance via Twin Lakes is about 11 miles with an elevation gain of 3700 feet.

Elkhorn Peak is an easy side trip that is well worth doing and is also an easy scramble. Both summits can easily be done in a long day.

Since this area is home to Deer, Elk, Bear, and Mountain goats, and is a popular big game hunting area, it is recommended that you wear bright colors during hunting season.

Getting There

To reach the Twin Lakes trailhead from Baker City, head west on Highway 7 for about 21.5 miles, and turn right onto Deer Creek Road between mileposts 29 and 28. Continue on this road about 4 miles to a 4-way intersection, and continue straight onto forest road #030 for 3 miles to the trail head. The final 1/2 mile is rough, but passable to most vehicles.

To reach Marble Pass from Baker City, from the intersection of 10th and Main, follow Main Street for 1.1 miles to a flashing yellow light, and turn left onto Pocohontas Road. Follow this for 7.6 miles to Marble creek road. Go straight on Marble creek (FR 5610) for 8 miles. The last 4 miles require a high clearance vehicle and possibly 4 wheel drive.

Red Tape

There were no signs requiring a forest pass at the Twin Lakes trailhead.

When To Climb

July through October, the roads may be snowed under outside of this time.


Twin Lakes Basin from the...

There are a few good campsites at Twin Lakes. The Deer Creek campground is also on the way to the trailhead. To get there, turn left at the 4-way intersection mentioned in “getting there” onto FR 6550 for about 2.5 miles.


NOAA forecast

Wallowa Whitman National Forest.

Baker Ranger District
3285 11th St.
P. O. Box 947
Baker City, OR 97814
(541) 523-4476

Most recent trail report for the southern Elkhorns

For more information on snow depth and precipitation in the area, check out the NWCC - SNOTEL
site located at this point about three miles north of Rock Creek Butte at elevation 5400 feet.


Mountain Goat below the...Elkhorn Mountains from the SETwin Lakes with Rock Creek...Rock Creek Butte as seen from...Twin Lakes Basin from the...Rock Creek Butte from Elkhorn...Curious Mountain Goat
Rock Creek Butte from the EastView from Twin Lakes to Rock Creek ButteSP\'ers Bob Bolton and Dennis...Twin Lakes as seen from the...Rock Creek Butte\'s north and...On the descent of the SE...Rock Creek Butte starts...
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