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Bessie Butte

We lovingly call this nice hike ‘Chanook Butte’, named after one of our four legged friends. The name was derived because this is one of those few places close-in to Bend that you can let the doggies off leash, and not have to worry about getting a ticket, or upsetting others. Though many of Bessie’s few tree’s were scorched in a wild fire about 3 years ago, the butte is still a fun hike to do when you are short on time, or ideas. To get to Bessie Butte, head East on China Hat Road. Turn right on the first paved road you encounter (Before the Horse Butte turn off)… road 1810. The trail head is marked with a nice new sign that hasn’t been riddled with bullet holes yet! The trail gently traverses 1.25 miles through the burn to the top of the butte. About half way up you begin to have a wonderful panoramic view of the cascades and Newberry caldera to the South. After taking in the views from up top, return to your car via the same trail.


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Scott Pass

This lovely little trail that is tucked away in the NE corner of the Three Sisters wilderness. It wanders through thick forests of Lodgepole and Fir and deposits eager hikers on top of Scott Pass where views of all the volcanoes abound.

Perhaps the initial mileage through a dry, and at times beetle-kill infested forest keeps most hikers away… but this hidden gem has quickly become a favorite hike of mine.

The Scott Pass trailhead is located to the East of the Cascade Crest, just South of the 2006 Black Crater Burn area. To get to the trailhead, drive West towards McKenzie Pass from Sisters and take the road signed ‘Scott Pass TH’ (duh).

After about 6 miles of lovely washboarded road… complete with peekaboo views of North Sister, you arrive at the Scott Pass trail head. Grab yourself a wilderness permit and head out for some solitude.

The first mile and a quarter is somewhat uneventful and you quickly arrive at the first trail junction. A seasonal creek and some signage lays out your options. To your right is the path to Millican TH and Lava Camp Lake TH, and to your left is signed ‘Green Lakes’. Hang a left here and venture deeper into the forest.

The trail continues to gently climb higher into the forest as you pass the turn off to Green Lakes. Adventurous hikers may opt to take a quick side trail to the scenic tree-rimmed Yapoah Lake. There is a trail, but if I told you where it was, well, you know.

Before long the trail begins to gently switch back towards Scott Pass. Drab forest views are replaced quickly by meadows of Lupine and expansive alpine views.

Once you reach Scott Pass proper, additional wandering options abound. Head North less than a quarter mile to South Mathieu Lake, or turn to the South and scramble up a small butte to get BIG views of North Sister, Mt. Washington, Three Fingered Jack and Mt. Jefferson. Or do both!

After your wanderings are complete, return on the same path from which you came.

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Rickard Road BLM

We discovered this special spot (like we have done with so many around town – by doing a Geocache at this spot. The name of the particular cache out here escapes me, but it was fun, and this little slice of BLM desert land was so nice that we have since added it to our list of favorite dog walk areas.

To get to the trail, head East on HWY 20 and drive far beyond the edge of the sprawl to Rickard Road. Turn right on Rickard Road and drive just shy of a mile until you see a non-descript turn-off on your left accompanied with some small BLM signage.

Like most desert strolls, this one really isn’t a designated trail, rather cachers and horse folk have created a quick 2 mile loop through some interesting rock formations and delightful old Juniper trees.

Provide time to wander around the rock outcrops and admire the trees.

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Wychus Creek Falls

This is a post from our “Vintage Vault”. ¬† was launched originally as a place to house trip reports and outdoor destinations around Bend. ¬†This was originally written about Squaw Creek Falls in 2007.

If any other male out there finds themselves being dragged along on a ‘fun’ trip to Sisters with out-of-towners, this quick hike may provide a much needed escape while your guests see all the great sites in sisters.

Squaw Creek begins its journey to the Deschutes River high up in the Three Sisters Wilderness between North and Middle Sisters. This quick hike ends at a beautiful 30+ foot waterfall on Squaw Creek.

From Sisters drive South on road 16 (Same road you drive for Tam McArthur TH) for 8 miles and turn right onto Rd 1514. After five miles, turn left on Rd 600, and finally an exciting jaunt up Rd680. Low clearance cars should probably not attempt the last mile as the road is very rough and unimproved.

The trail itself meanders through a pleasant mixture of lodgepole and fir trees. Around 1.5 miles the trail switches back gently up a gradual hill and ends at a viewpoint high above the waterfall.

Return to your car via the same trail.

I was recently told by a contact at the Deschutes NF, that Squaw Creek is now called Wychus Creek… or the creek formerly known as Squaw Creek!