Best Butte 2014 | Luna Butte | Health & Recreation | Bend

Best Of Central Oregon

Best Butte

Luna Butte

Brianna Brey

If you like buttes, then you live in the right place. Bend is surrounded by hundreds of them. Between Pilot Butte and Newberry Crater 22 miles to the south, there are more than 70 cinder cones that rise 100 feet in height or more. One of my favorites is Luna Butte, located 15.5 miles south of Bend. From the air, it looks like a sleeping dragon, its back rising 600 feet above the forest floor and long tail gently curving to the north. Unlike most buttes along the north flanks of Newberry Crater, Luna Butte is nearly treeless along its ridge (due to the 18 Fire of 2003), so the views from the top are worth the climb. There aren't any official trails up Luna Butte, but it's best to start from the south side and head up the volcanic scree covered in a patchwork of manzanita, scrub brush, and determined gnarly trees. To get there from Bend, take China Hat Road south to Swamp Wells Road, heading south 3.9 miles to the junction with NF-9714. If the road is good, you can continue 0.8 miles east to the base of the butte.

Kolby Kirk is currently writing a hiking guidebook to the buttes in Central Oregon. (KK)