The Stein Butte Trail (USFS #929) is one of the classic hikes in Southern Oregon’s Upper Applegate Valley. It was the last hike we did in 2014, near to the last hike we did in 2015, and the last one we did in both 2016 and 2017. So, in the spirit of unimaginative repetitive behavior, it seemed only fitting that it be our last hike for 2018 as well. 🙄

Thanks to the Motorcycle Riders Association, who maintain the #929 for the Forest Service, it was in great condition and clear of obstacles (and snow). Today was a bluebird day between storms. Big, sunny, near cloudless views started on Elliott Creek Ridge and continued to the butte’s summit at 4,398 feet. From there, snow along the Siskiyou Crest to the south looked a little skimpy. The snow was noticeably deeper on Dutchman Peak (7,417 feet) to the east, suggesting that snow with some depth is thus far confined to 6,000 feet and above (which is why Mount Ashland’s ski area is going full tilt at the moment). But we’ll need deeper snow at lower altitudes if we want to snowshoe somewhere other than Mount Ashland or Crater Lake (when it reopens 😡 ). So, in the spirit of unsubstantiated optimism, here’s hoping that we soon experience more snow to give meaning to our snowshoes. o_O

View from Stein Butte in Southern Oregon
The Red Buttes from along the trail
Red Buttes from Elliott Creek Ridge
Looking north up the Applegate Valley, with Baldy Peak (B) and Little Grayback Mountain (G) on the right
The essentially snowless summit of Stein Butte
Looking east: Mount McLoughlin (arrow), Wagner Butte (W.), and Dutchman Peak (D)
Looking south toward the Red Buttes (on the left)
Grayback Mountain and Big Sugarloaf Peak on the left, with depleted Applegate Lake below