The hike to Gray Butte, located in the Crooked River National Grassland near Terrebonne, Oregon, is great to walk in the spring because of the wildflowers. I went here in May and we saw quite a few colorful flowers. The habitat is sagebrush steppe with scattered western juniper trees.
View of Mt. Jefferson from Gray Butte trail
I have been here twice with Leslie Olson, one of my favorite guides with Bend Parks and Recreation. One time we went on Cole Loop Trail #854 and the other time we went on Gray Butte Trail #852. The roads to the trailheads have sections that are rough but passable. We did out-and-back hikes of around four to five miles total distance. They are listed as easy to moderate hikes. Here’s a map that shows both trails.
McCoin Orchard at Gray Butte trailhead
A piece of history
My most recent hike began at Gray Butte trailhead, elevation 3,800 feet, near the McCoin Orchard. The orchard was originally planted by Julius and Sarah McCoin in 1886. The property was purchased by the U.S. Forest Service in the 1930’s. At one time there were 100 fruit trees here – apple, pear, plum, etc. Grassland range specialists saved the surviving trees in the 1980’s. When I was there, the trees were in full bloom.
Here in Bend we like to relax by visiting one of the 29 breweries in the area. Here are a couple photos showing us relaxing at the Crux Fermentation Project, one of my favorite breweries. It is one of our “go-to” destinations to take visitors. Can you see why?
As I hiked to Blue Pool, I wondered if it would really have the jewel-toned blue water I had seen in so many pictures. We walked for four miles and finally caught a glimpse of this small lake. Walking to the edge of a steep cliff, we looked down at its crystal clear waters.
About Blue Pool
Blue Pool, also known as Tamolitch Pool, was breathtakingly beautiful on this bright and sunny day. The turquoise and sapphire blue waters sparkled up at us. The leaves of trees surrounding the pool were just beginning to change color. Their reflections in the water looked like an Impressionist painting.
Sunken sights await you at Clear Lake in Linn County, Oregon. This “young” lake was formed by nearby volcanic activity 3,000 years ago. The McKenzie River originates here.
Clear Lake Underwater Forest
The cold water temperatures preserved a forest of ghostly trees beneath the surface. The water temperature averages 35-43° F. Brrrr! The leaves and needles of the trees are long gone but their trunks and limbs stand like some prehistoric creature preserved in time. Some visitors get a closer look at the underwater sights by scuba diving here.