|Peak Summited||2020 Gray Butte|
|Type of Hike||Day hike|
|Road Conditions||Road suitable for all vehicles|
|Bug Status||No bugs|
|Snow Conditions||Snow free|
|Trail Conditions||Trail in good condition|
This was an exploratory hike, being my first time from Skull Hollow. I parked at the large parking lot to the left, just past the entrance to the designated campground. Had I known you could continue driving up the road (quite a way) and park off the road at turnouts, I might've done that to cut back on the dirt road hiking. But I did not. 🙁
On the plus side, I discovered there is a lot of dispersed camping along there, so I'll definitely be back to camp next time.
I started out with a misstep. The Cole Loop Trail goes around Gray Butte, and there was a trailhead right in the parking area. The trail started climbing, and I didn't do a map check until almost a mile in, when I discovered this was not the direction I wanted to take this trail. My map showed a double-track that led back to the trail I wanted to be on, but I didn't find it. I ended up taking a use trail back down to the dirt road, and started following that up.
I created a loop out of this, by taking the road around to the saddle, then turning left on a jeep trail. This wound around the north side of Gray Butte, then climbed steeply uphill (up to 40% slope). Got to the summit around 9:30am. It was clear but super windy. Took a few obligatory photos and headed back down the gravel road that winds down the south side of the butte.
Eventually joined up with the Cole Loop Trail (the segment I had originally planned to take) and back down to the road, then the road to the Skull Hollow trailhead parking.
8.6 miles, 3.5 hours.