Overview - The Route
The trailhead for Indian Creek Butte is the same as for the south face of Strawberry Mountain; Roads End trailhead
. You will follow the Roads End / Onion Creek Trail for 1.1 miles to the GPS coordinates listed at the top of the page. This is the south end of the Pine Creek Trail which leads off to the west towards Indian Creek Butte which you can see laying over a ridgeline (Peak 7915).
Follow the Pine Creek trail 0.2 miles where you will reach a fork. To the north is Indian Creek A Trail 364. This is a more direct route that will save you a little more than a mile one way, but the trail has been neglected and is difficult to follow often completely disappearing at times. Should you take this route, you will see the Onion Beds at the head of Indian Creek and will eventually meet back up with the Pine Creek Trail on the lower east ridge of Indian Creek Butte. Continuing straight on follows the Pine Creek Trail down into scenic Wildcat Basin along a more groomed path. This route is longer, but on the hike in it is almost entirely downhill until reaching Indian Creek Butte.
Follow Pine Creek Trail southwest 1.6 miles down into Wildcat Basin where it links up with the Buckhorn Meadows Trail at Wildcat Camp. Here veer NW across Wildcat Basin until meeting up with the Indian Creek Trail 1.5 miles ahead once the John Day Valley comes back into view at a low saddle between Indian Creek Butte and Peak 7915. Continue west towards Indian Creek Butte for another 1.5 miles where you will reach the base of the summit block. Here select a route to the top and leave the trail, the south face is the easiest and the north face is a cliff.
The total distance is almost 6 miles with roughly 1400 feet of elevation gain and loss for a net total of zero elevation gain! For the total trip your looking at 11.5 miles and 2800 feet of elevation gain and loss.
The total distance if taking the Indian Creek alternate route both ways is just under 9 miles roundtrip and has 1000 feet of elevation gain and loss.
Getting To Roads End Trailhead
From John Day travel 9 miles south on Highway 395 to paved County Road 65 on the left. Follow this road approximately 15 miles to its intersection with Malheur National Forest Roads 15 and 16. Take a left heading east towards Logan Valley traveling only 2 miles where you will take a left on USFS road 1640. Follow this road 10.5 miles to the Strawberry Mountain trailhead. This trailhead lays on the southwest face of Indian Spring Butte
less than half a mile from the High Lake Trailhead.