Black Butte

Black Butte is a hike up a small volcanic peak with great views of Mt. Shasta. It’s a little over 5 miles round trip and 1850 feet of elevation gain.


We drove up to Bend, Oregon last week to visit family and spend a few days skiing.  Not much snow in California this winter, so Mount Bachelor was worth the long trek!  On our drive up, we passed under the shadow of Black Butte – a prominent peak right next to I-5 in the Mount Shasta area.  It looks relatively small next to Mount Shasta, but it is actually 6334-ft and looms steeply above the freeway.  As we drove toward it, we both exclaimed: “What is that peak?  Can we climb it?!”  Turns out, there’s an easy trail that goes to the top. Continue reading “Black Butte”

Mount Saint Helens

Basics: This is a challenging winter climb to the summit of an active volcano in the Cascade Range.  The weather is unpredictable, but on a clear day the views are well worth the effort.  The hike from this particular route is approximately 12 miles roundtrip with an elevation gain of over 5700 feet.  There is one other trail (with less elevation gain) to the summit, but it can only be accessed when the road to Climber’s Bivouac is free of snow.  Parking is free but permits are required anywhere above 4800 ft. Continue reading “Mount Saint Helens”

Ape Cave in Washington

Basics: This is a short hike through a lava tube at Mount Saint Helens in Gifford Pinchot National Forest (Washington state).  The cave is very dark – two light sources per person are recommended.  There’s not terribly much to see, but it’s a unique and interesting experience.  Including the return hike, the trip is under 3 miles.  A parking permit is required and can be purchased at the parking lot.  During the summer, lanterns can be rented at the kiosk near the entrance. Continue reading “Ape Cave in Washington”