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Looking for a shorter trail with spectacular views? Lava Butte is a great trail for family adventures and anyone looking for hill repeats. This trail features a seasonally active fire lookout tower at the top of Lava Butte (elevation 5020’) and breath-taking panoramic Cascade Mountain views from Mount Scott in Crater Lake National Park all the way up north to Mount Hood.
From Lava Lands Visitor Center, it’s a 3 mile out-and-back trail with 500 feet of vertical gain. As you approach the butte, the first 1/2 mile is pretty flat. In the next mile, you gain 500 feet as you wind your way up and around the butte. Once you reach the top, you can add an additional 1/4 mile by exploring the caldera loop trail around the top of Lava Butte. This trail will take you to the fire lookout tower and give you incredible views of the Cascades, buttes, and the vast sea of lava beneath you. There’s a reason this area is called Lava Lands!
Safety tip: Be careful for cars, which are allowed to drive up Lava Butte in the summer.