On the Bessie Butte Trail, the cinder cone rises 500 feet high, just southeast of Bend.
Bend is an adventurer’s paradise. The Central Oregon hub is the gateway to the high desert. To the west towers Mt. Bachelor, to the north Tumalo Falls cascades nearly 100 feet, and the great Deschutes River winds its way through Bend’s city center.
For those taking new interest to the great outdoors, the Bessie Butte Trail is a great place to start. The Bessie Butte cinder cone, a mere 12 miles southeast of Bend, is linked to the Newbury Caldera just south of where it lies and rises 500 feet from the base floor.
Hiking to its summit and back requires a 1.5 mile roundtrip walk-up ascending 500 feet. Due to forest fires in 2003 and 2007, the summit is a little bald these days and charred trees tell the tale of the devastation Bessie Butte has endured. However, it is still an excellent viewpoint for sunrises and sunsets and the prime location for beginner hikers to make their mark on the world.
For those ready to conquer the Bessie Butte Trail, here are some good tips to remember to ensure a successful hike.
It is dangerous to become dehydrated during a hike—you could develop a headache, dizziness or lightheadedness, muscle cramps, tiredness, or worse—yet many hikers, no matter their expert level, seem to not carry enough water.
On average, a hiker will consume approximately two gallons of water per day when the temperature is around 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Though that kind of heat is rare in Oregon, it still happens and it’s best to be prepared. Camelbak provides a variety of resources to help comfortably store water; remember, it’s better to overestimate than underestimate.
Though the Bessie Butte Trail is not the longest of hikes, it’s always good to pack some food. Trail mix, Clif bars, jerky and fruit are all great options that are lightweight and will give you the energy boost your body needs to reach the summit and marvel at the spectacular view.
The weather in Oregon can never seem to make up its mind, so make sure to check the forecast both the day (or a couple days) before your hike and also the morning of your trek. This will help you dress and pack accordingly, although it is always good to bring extra clothing in case conditions become severe.
There is nothing worse than hiking with the wrong shoes. Your feet will thank you if you invest in some high quality shoes and socks, and you will be happy when you’ve completed your first big hike without blisters. That being said, it is always best to carry blister dressings just in case.
Letting others know where you will be is crucial, even if you are hiking with a partner. Contact someone you’re close to and tell them your itinerary and come up with a “worry time” where they should call for help if they haven’t heard from you. Make sure this time is several hours after you expect to finish the hike, as distractions and overestimations tend to arise.
Now that you’re prepared, get out there and conquer the Bessie Butte Trail!