After record-breaking cold and wet March and April, May has been incredible with temperatures in the 70s and lots of dry weather. A mid-May hike would normally be “early season” conditions, but this one felt like planning for a summer hike.
The trick to hiking this time of year is that everyone is crammed onto the same hikes. Everything in the mountains is still buried in feet of snow. Any popular hike (Rattlesnake Ledge, Tiger Mountain, Mount Si, etc) is a madhouse. I searched around for a bit and found the Cedar Butte hike.
We arrived at about 8:50am after driving past an already maxed out overflow parking area for Rattlesnake Ledge. Parking at our trailhead was only about a third full. On the way up we only saw two other groups and on the way down we saw about eight. It was great to be able to enjoy the peacefulness of the hike.
The first half of the hike is very flat as it follows the old railroad grade John Wayne Trail. There’s a sign for Cedar Butte that shoots you steeply uphill. It only took us about an hour to reach the peak, so we were back in the car by around 11am. The parking lot was jammed full at that point.
For you history buffs, read about the Boxley Burst which happened right in this area. After trying to create a dam, part of the hillside blew out and wiped a town away in the middle of the night. Thanks to a vigilant watchman, everyone got away to safety just in time, but literally all they had left were the clothes on their back.
We have a busy summer ahead but I’m looking forward to squeezing in more hikes!