Pilot Butte in Sunriver, Oregon

There are only four cities in the United States that have volcanoes within their city limits. Mount Tabor is in Portland, Oregon. Jackson, Mississippi is home to the Jackson Volcano. And Diamond Head is in Honolulu, Hawaii. The fourth city holds a special place in our heart and may have been one you have already heard of, as it is located right here in Central Oregon. Bend, Oregon is home to Lava Butte and Pilot Butte, both cinder cones that haven’t erupted in thousands of years. Pilot Butte in Sunriver is considered an extinct volcano and is completely safe, offering views of the Central Oregon landscape that will bring a smile to your heart! Visiting Pilot Butte is one of the best things to do in Sunriver, Oregon.

Known as the Stair Stepper of Bend

Both tourists and residents alike have gotten their workouts on the trails that traverse the area, giving Pilot Butte in Sunriver the humorous nickname, “The Stair Stepper of Bend!” Pilot Butte Nature Trail is a popular one year-round, so watch out for people coming and going when it’s time to explore. Rising 500 feet out of the hardened lava that makes up the land here, this extinct cinder cone is famous for being the largest in town and was once a popular landmark that signified a safe spot for early settlers to cross the Deschutes River on their way to their new homes.

Unlike Lava Butte, the landscape surrounding Pilot Butte in Sunriver is not barren. Rather, the trees and other vegetation gives the butte a soft filter that photographs beautifully; be sure and stop at one of the scenic viewpoints, and don’t forget your camera! Picnic tables make the top of the butte a popular area for viewing the sunset, the sunrise, or just enjoying a simple meal with the people you love most. Sunsets here are spectacular, so if you are hiking the trails around Pilot Butte in Sunriver, plan to be at the peak right as the sun is sinking behind the Cascade Mountains—you’ll thank us for this tip later! A children’s playground is located at the Scenic View Point, so if your children are too young to appreciate the views, they are still going to want to come to this magical spot to swing on the swings!

When It’s Time to Come Inside

When we grew up, we knew it was time to come inside when the streetlights came on. Today, you’ll know when you just can’t hike another step! Soak tired muscles in a hot tub on the patio, wash away the dirt from the trails in our spacious showers, and enjoy a glass of wine before you sink into bed and a dreamless sleep in your Sunriver Pines vacation rental—reserve yours today!

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