Bessie Butte - A Nice Walk to a Spectacular View
The extinct cinder cone volcano is five miles southeast of Bend, Oregon. The view is enhanced by the lack of mature trees, the result of the 18 Fire of 2003 that burned 3,810 acres of the Deschutes National Forest to the north of the butte. A 2006 planting of some 10,000 pine seedlings represents hope of reforestation in the years to come.
To get to Bessie Butte, take China Hat Road (Forest Road 18) east off of Highway 97 south of Bend. From the north, you'll have to take Parrell Road south to China Hat Road, or drive farther south to the Knott Road interchange and backtrack, since there is no left turn onto China Hat from the divided highway.
Once on China Hat Road, drive about five miles southeast until it curves south to reveal the butte towering over the surrounding landscape. Turn right at Forest Road 1810 and drive about a quarter mile and you'll find the trailhead to Bessie Butte summit. Spiraling around the butte is a three-quarter mile walking trail to the top where on a clear day you can catch a 360 degree panorama of the Cascades, the Paulinas, the Deschutes National Forest and the Central Oregon High Desert.
Photo credits: Dana Kenneth Johnson.