Big Butte Fire Lookout Through Trees
Summit Elevation: 5010 feet
Hike Distance: 1/4 mile?
Big Butte would not be a destination for a hiker except for one interesting feature. It has a fire lookout on its summit. The 82' timber tower was constructed in 1950 and may or may not still be in use during certain times of the year. The fire lookout attendant at Oregon Butte (earlier in my trip) said that she had been assigned to Big Butte in the past.
Big Butte Fire Lookout
When I visited Big Butte the gate to the lookout near the end of the road was closed. However, upon inspection their were not any "no trespassing" signs. The lookout is situated atop the butte and just a short distance past the gate. From there the area has a few picnic tables, a porta-potty and a few out buildings.
From the lookout it is clear why the site was chosen. It has great views to the west of the eastern extent of the Blue Mountains. To the South the Grande Ronde River gorge has cut an impressive canyon and the distant Wallaowa Mountains in Oregon can be seen.
From the small town of Anatone, WA many routes will get you to the right road. I think the route I took may not be the fastest but its the one I know so here goes. Go west on Mill rd for .6 of a mile and turn left on Mountain rd. After 2.2 miles turn right on East Mountain rd. In 3.2 miles the road merges with W Mountain rd. Go right and follow for 2.7 miles to a gentle right. The butte can be seen at the clearing before the cattle grate. Once on the spur road go .4 miles to a gate. From there, hop the fence and proceed a short distance to the lookout area. These roads all seemed pretty well maintained and I don't think a high clearance vehicle would even be necessary.
I am not certain but my guess is no.