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Divide Butte, OR | October 2018

W7RMR's picture
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Easy driving access in a somewhat remote part of the Mt Hood National Forest. Best way in is to enter the forest from Hillock Burn Road off Highway 211 which turns into the 45 road. You follow that for about 13 miles to the turnoff to the 4540 road. It's notable as you go from gravel to pavement when you turn off from the main road to a secondary road. the 4540 meanders it's way up past a sometimes-there lake, taking a left turn there and is fairly overgrown but still passable. In about 3.5 miles, you pass the turn off to South Fork Mountain, an easy drive up summit.

It's important to have a map of the area because some of the intersections you come to, it doesn't feel like you're taking the right road. 5.5 miles past the spur to South Fork Mountain, the road continues straight at an intersection but you'll need to turn left to stay on the 4540. Another mile beyond that you'll come to the road that takes to close to the summit. It's a better traveled road that climbs quickly, not the overgrown spur that requres a three-point turn to get on it. Again, having a good map is important.

There an old landing site at the top to park in, then you can follow an old road bed up to the summit. You get into the activation zone pretty quickly but to get to the true summit, it's a bit further. There appears to have once been a road bed to the top but trees have grown up in it over the years. Recently, somebody went through and cut down all the trees and left them criss crossed turning the overgrown trail into an obstacle course. I found the best route was skirting the left side as you go up. It's no more than 500 feet to the top and there's a nice flat spot at the edge of a slope with a good view to the east and a few trees you could hang antenna off of. The whole mountaintop is line of sight to much of the Portland area and is very doable for 2M, I made six contacts in 10 minutes on a Monday morning.

While you're in the area, Goat Mountain and the previously mentioned South Fork Mountain are drive-ups and Wanderers Peak is (currently) a relatively short hike. It appears the Forest Service is adding a gate at the bottom of that road which would increase the hike by four miles, round-trip.