Welcome to SP!  -
Tanner Butte
Mountain/Rock

Tanner Butte

 
Tanner Butte

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Oregon, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 45.56660°N / 121.9077°W

Object Title: Tanner Butte

Elevation: 4500 ft / 1372 m

 

Page By: Don Nelsen

Created/Edited: Nov 9, 2004 / Jun 23, 2008

Object ID: 153319

Hits: 10226 

Page Score: 84.27%  - 18 Votes 

Vote: Log in to vote

 

Overview

Tanner Butte appears to be one of the more rarely visited major Columbia Gorge peaks probably both for the long trail distances to get to it and the fact that the actual summit pitch has only a barely visible trail. Also, it probably doesn't help that the last several miles of trail is un-maintained. Nevertheless, this peak is most photogenic once you do get to it and the views from the summit are excellent including all five of the major cascade volcanoes from Jefferson to Rainier. The views of Mt. Hood from Tanner Butte are exceptional as the picture below attests:

Mt. Hood view from Tanner Butte Summit area.
Mt. Hood view from Tanner Butte Summit area.


There is evidence that a fire lookout once stood on the summit but there's nothing left now but a few bits of glass and metal. cmc56789 provided the following link for a pic and some data on the lookout: Link

Getting There

The veritable maze of trails in the gorge provides many options for access but only a couple that are arguably do-able in a day of trail running or serious hiking. The following are my choices:

From I-84 take the Bonneville Dam exit 40 and turn south on the short road to the parking area. The unmarked trailhead is immediately to the left of the Wahclella Falls sign as you start down the parking area road. Alternately, turn left at the Wahclella Falls sign and drive up the short road to another parking area. This alternate access starts out up the gated gravel road (Road 777) to the right of the water storage tower and is about .48 miles shorter than the other trail. The added advantage is that it's easier to follow than the somewhat confusing trail. Whichever way you chose, the two routes soon meet on a closed-to-vehicle-travel gravel road in a little more than a mile. After another mile up the road, at a stream crossing, find the Tanner Butte Trail sign and go up the hill to the left. Follow this for another 6.9 miles and then find the sign for the unmaintained scramble trail to the summit. This faint trail winds another .48 miles up through the trees to the top of the peak. Total round trip elevation gain is 5,200' and 19.6 miles.

Another option is to take exit 41, (eastbound only) park at the Eagle Creek Trailhead and take the Eagle Creek Trail. I prefer this trailhead feeling it to be safer to leave one's vehicle parked in an area with a "Camp Host" on duty This is a bit longer at about 23 1/2 miles total and about 5,500 total vertical feet but has the advantage of the excellent sights along Eagle Creek. About 7.3 miles from the trailhead (the trailhead that starts at the turnaround at the end of the access road), on a left hand switchback, take the Eagle-Tanner Trail more-or-less straight ahead. The junction to this seldom-if-ever maintained trail could be easy to miss so if you find yourself going uphill in a northeasterly direction, you missed it. About a mile farther you will have to ford the un-bridged Eagle Creek: The best spot is upstream about 200 feet from where the trail stops at water's edge. Bushwhack straight up the opposite bank and rejoin the trail which parallels the creek a few dozen feet from the top of the bank. In another 3 1/2 miles, turn right at the Tanner Butte Trail junction, go about 1.2 miles and find the sign marking the scramble trail up to the summit. To complete the loop, go north on the Tanner Butte Trail turning right on Trail 400 to return to your starting point at Eagle Creek.

Red Tape

A Trail Park pass or equivalent is required at both exit 40 trailheads as well as Eagle Creek trailheads off exit 41. There is a self-serve pass kiosk at both the trailheads.

The usual national forest and/or wilderness rules apply.

When To Climb

Late spring through early November is best but hardy souls could do this as a snow shoe trip in the winter. The upper elevations will be very snow covered from Nov. through at least April. As of the end of June, 2008, 6 feet and more of heavy packed snow covers the upper reaches (above about 3,300') of both routes and runoff is heavy at the Eagle Creek ford so plan accordingly.

Camping

Primitive camping spots abound. A few even have a weathered picnic table!

Mountain Conditions

Here's a link for the northern Oregon Cascades weather: Weather

Additions and Corrections

[ Post an Addition or Correction ]
Viewing: 1-6 of 6    
Don NelsenUntitled Comment

Don Nelsen

Hasn't voted

Hi Jerry,





Thanks for your comments.





I agree with you that parking at a busier spot is probably safer but it's actually slightly farther if you start at Eagle Creek rather than at Wahclella Falls. The distance is minor compared to a little more car safety, though.





Too bad you couldn't get to Tanner on your hike. I was up in the area last weekend and the snow is definitely gone now!
Posted Jun 1, 2005 5:13 pm
Don NelsenUntitled Comment

Don Nelsen

Hasn't voted

Yeah, Dublin Lake is a nice secluded spot but, you're right, no views at all, and then you have to do the climb back out of the lake area. I agree on the spot just north of Tanner Butte - the views there are excellent.





Actually, the best water source in the area is off the main trail about 3/4 mile south of the side trail leading up to the summit of Tanner Butte. A short spur trail leads west to Tanner Springs and that's my preferred water source. I've always simply drank directly from the springs in the gorge - the water quality appears excellent.





-- Don
Posted Jun 1, 2005 5:20 pm
retired jerryUntitled Comment

Hasn't voted

as shown on your map, park at the alternate Eagle Creek trailhead (1/2 mile before the main parking), take the bridge over Eagle Creek, and walk about 1 mile to road 777 (Tanner Creek Road). This is shorter than the Wahchelaca (I forget how that's spelled) Falls trail and I'de rather park at the Eagle Creek trailhead because there are more people there.





I did this April 2005, was 1 mile short of Tanner Butte because there was too much snow.
Posted May 17, 2005 6:22 pm
retired jerryUntitled Comment

Hasn't voted

I camped at Dublin Lake, about 2 miles short of Tanner Butte. Several campsites. So far away from the road and so little publisized that few people go there. No view of anything - too many trees.





Also, about a mile before Tanner Butte there is a spot where you could camp with a nice view of Mount Hood and Tanner Butte. Its right next to the trail. No water, you'de have to take it from Dublin Lake.





Or, just camp at Tanner Butte? Again, take water from Dublin Lake.
Posted May 17, 2005 6:28 pm
Don NelsenUntitled Comment

Don Nelsen

Hasn't voted

Hi Jerry,





Thanks for your comments.





I agree with you that parking at a busier spot is probably safer but it's actually slightly farther if you start at Eagle Creek rather than at Wahclella Falls. The distance is minor compared to a little more car safety, though.





Too bad you couldn't get to Tanner on your hike. I was up in the area last weekend and the snow is definitely gone now!
Posted Jun 1, 2005 5:13 pm
Don NelsenUntitled Comment

Don Nelsen

Hasn't voted

Yeah, Dublin Lake is a nice secluded spot but, you're right, no views at all, and then you have to do the climb back out of the lake area. I agree on the spot just north of Tanner Butte - the views there are excellent.





Actually, the best water source in the area is off the main trail about 3/4 mile south of the side trail leading up to the summit of Tanner Butte. A short spur trail leads west to Tanner Springs and that's my preferred water source. I've always simply drank directly from the springs in the gorge - the water quality appears excellent.





-- Don
Posted Jun 1, 2005 5:20 pm

Viewing: 1-6 of 6    

Images