Trip Report    

Day Hike - Butte Camp

Pleasant, peaceful hike on a beautiful day to this seldom visited trail.

  • Fri, Jun 4, 2021
  • Butte Camp
  • Day Hiking
  • Successful
  • Road rough but passable
  • Started on FS 81 from FS 83 on the east end. It's about a mile from where the pavement ends to the trailhead with pot holes and small rocks, but can be handled by any decent vehicle with care.  Small parking area, start of trail on the parking side of road to head north. There is a trailhead sign on the right that's easy to miss, no bathrooms and no pass needed. Drove back on FS 81 SW directly to Cougar for the trip home. That portion passes Kalama Horse Camp. The unpaved stretch is okay for most cars, no high clearance is needed anywhere on FS 81 despite what the Forest Service website says.

This was a scouting trip for a potential CHS hike in July. The trail is snow free until just past the Kalama Ski Trail junction, then patches begin. Snow increases gradually and becomes almost all snow at Butte Camp, around 2 to 3 feet. We used gps to navigate with occasional pieces of trail visible on bare ground. There was plenty of running water in a stream at Butte Camp. Switchbacks under Butte Camp Dome begin above the stream with more lengthy snow patches. Lots of branches and forest debris along the trail that needs to be cleared. We removed larger pieces as we hiked. There is a sketchy traverse of a very steep exposed slope at around 4400' for about 1/10th of a mile (snow-free). Virtually no room to step aside for oncoming hikers on that stretch, extreme caution is needed.

We hit more snow past the traverse that was 3 to 4 feet deep with tree wells and hole hazards. So we turned back at about 4500' and did not get to the Loowit Trail junction. This CHS hike was scheduled for July 26th, but I changed the destination to Ape Canyon due to the hazardous traverse.