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Backpacker Magazine – March 2014

Trail Mix: West

Perfect days; Bring Your Skis, and finding solitude in Mt. Hood National Forest.

by: Sarah Stewart

(Photo by Phillip Noll) La Ventana faces southwest, so shoot it in the afternoon
(Photo by Phillip Noll) La Ventana faces southwest, so shoot it in the afternoon

Solitude Finder

Five Mile Butte Lookout, Mt. Hood National Forest, OR

How’s this for winter paradise? A heated lookout tower—complete with 360-degree Cascades views—3 miles deep in the woods. You’ll follow closed roads from the Billy Bob Sno Park trailhead. Head 1 mile north on FS 4430 to the junction with FS 120. Turn west and scale 2 miles uphill (gaining 1,000 feet) through old-growth ponderosa pine and Douglas fir. Turn south on Spur Road 122 to reach your overnight destination: the Five Mile Butte Lookout, a 40-foot-tall wooden tower. From the wrap-around porch, see the cropped tops of 12,280-foot Mt. Adams to the north and 11,250-foot Mt. Hood to the west. Inside the 14-by-14-foot hut, find a wood-burning stove (firewood in the shed outside), propane cook stove, full-size bed, table, and chairs. (Pack in food and water.) Next morning, try the Eightmile Trail loop (actually 6.2 miles) from your winter bungalow. Info The lookout sleeps up to four ($50/night); reserve at least three days ahead of time at Contact (503) 668-1700; 

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