Barnes Butte IronHorse Trail Prineville Oregon
IRONHORSE TRAIL TO BARNES BUTTE
Recently in my hometown of Prineville, Oregon, we got a marvelous surprise. Brooks Resources, a large development company located here in Central Oregon, installed and opened a new public trail giving local residents and visitors something they have never had. Access to Barnes Butte and the surrounding BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land.
The dilemma before for those of us who call ourselves Prinevillains was that Barnes Butte could be hiked on yet there was no public access to the butte itself. In order to hike on or up Barnes Butte, you had to cross private property though many locals were never sure exactly who owned what or if it was possible to get permission to cross private property. Consequently, many folks took it upon themselves to cross the wetlands and just hike up the butte, which really does constitute trespassing.
This new trail, however, makes hiking Barnes Butte accessible to anyone and everyone. Come along with me on a cool Saturday morning for a beautiful hike with my two young malamutes and my husband, Bob.
Hopefully this photo tour will make your hike more enjoyable and also show you the terrain you can expect on this hike.
BARNES BUTTE IRONHORSE HIKE INFORMATION
The hike itself is fabulous. You will see all kinds of beautiful vistas from the different lookout points.
There are some salient bullet points, however, that should be pointed out.
- This trail is 3.6 miles round trip but that is from point A to point B.
- There are several other offshoot trails that you can venture down so the trip could be longer depending on where you decide to go.
- The trail itself is more like a path. It is pretty well marked (ties on trees in case you're wondering what those are for).
- The trail is very rocky in parts. Especially with dogs it can be a literal stumbling block if you aren't paying attention to your footing.
- The trail at the beginning is a gradual and steady climb. You end up at about 3400 feet by the end of the climb so you may want to rest along the way.
- The trail does have 3 lookout points which will guide you to different paths.
- You can get just about a 360 degree view of Prineville even though there are only 3 spots to stop and view. Some spectacular vistas are visible from the main trail as well.
WHAT YOU MIGHT NEED FOR THIS HIKE
- Sturdy hiking boots
- Multiple layers of clothing
- Walking stick
- Band-aids and hand wipes
- Snacks or energy bars
- Lunch if you plan on hiking for a while
- Waste bags for your dogs
- Cell phone
What is a butte? A butte is a prominent isolated hill with steep sides and a flat top (though some are flatter than others here).
IRONHORSE TRAIL CAUTIONARY ADVICE
- Start of the hike is a little difficult to find
- Watch your footing at all times
- No bathrooms are available either at the beginning of the hike or anywhere along the trail
- Wildlife is abundant in this area to include deer, coyotes, badgers, rats, birds, etc.
- Cougars have been reported in this area at times
- In warmer temperatures definitely be alert for rattlesnakes and other large snakes
- Cell coverage should be present because there is a tower on the trail but test it periodically
- Always tell someone where you are going - this is a remote trail which starts at the edge of a housing development
- Temperatures plummet to freezing at night at certain times of the year and you would not want to be trapped outside at night or early morning
- Buddy system is the best plan on this hike because it is easy to get lost or turned around
- Once you get to Prineville, proceed east on Third Street (the main street of town)
- Go north on Combs Flat Road (turn left)
- Turn right onto Laughlin Road
- Turn left on Wayfarer Drive
- The trail actually starts just opposite the sign post for streets Wayfarer and Angler (asphalt surfaced going up a slight hill and winding up into the trail)
- Parking is street parking
Go to www.ironhorseprineville.com for more information
ABOUT THE HIKE
The hike itself is billed as easy but I would classify it as at least moderate if not moderately difficult just because of the rocky trail in many parts and ascent rate.
Of note, I can see how some folks might become disoriented on this trail because it is not extremely well marked.
Always let someone know where you are going as when we hiked this trail, there was only 1 other twosome hiking. They were descending just as we started the trail so it was only us hiking for several hours.
There is no check-in point or any place to acknowledge that you have gone up the trail. The only clue if you drove there would be your car parked on the street at the bottom of the trail.
PHOTO GALLERY OF THE HIKE ITSELF
HOW TO GET THERE
WHEN YOU ARRIVE AT WAYFARER & ANGLER
MORE THINGS TO SEE ON YOUR HIKE
ENJOY YOUR HIKE~! REMEMBER TO PACK OUT WHAT YOU PACK IN!
FIRE IS ALWAYS A DANGER IN THIS REGION - DISPOSE OF BURNING MATERIAL APPROPRIATELY!