“A wonderful trail through stunning old growth forest to Azalea Lake in the heart of the Red Buttes Wilderness”
— Bruce Hope
Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Swimming
This trail is enters the Red Buttes Wilderness and the usual federal wilderness area regulations and restrictions apply here. Practice Leave No Trace (LNT) ethics, camp 100 feet from fragile areas, and bury human waste at least 200 feet from water, trails, and campsites.
Access to this trail may be limited by snow between November and May.
The Siskiyou Mountain Club has worked to keep this trail clear of logs and brush, but you may encounter large fallen trees.
The Butte Fork Trail #957 starts at its junction with the Horse Camp Trail #958
less than a mile in from the Horse Camp Trailhead on Forest Road 1040. The trail then climbs along the south side of Butte Fork, passes Echo Canyon, and continues on over a decrepit bridge to a junction with the Shoofly Trail #954
coming in from the north.
Once past this junction, the trail continues on up the canyon well above, but paralleling the creek. The Butte Fork Trail doesn't get all that close to the river itself for most of its length but it does cross a number of side streams which may (or may not) provide water sources for a summer run. The forest in this part of the canyon is dominated by huge sugar pines (some over 8 feet in diameter), along with big Douglas firs and Ponderosa pines. There are also big leaf maple, Pacific yew, and golden chinquapin trees. Higher up toward Azalea Lake
, large cedars make an appearance.
At about 6.6 miles along the trail, you'll pass a shed for trail maintenance tools that was first constructed in the 1920s and has been maintained ever since. At 7.6 miles, there are graves for three people (husband, wife, and wife's sister) from Portland who perished in a 1945 small plane crash near this location.
Not far past the grave site, the Butte Fork Trail #957 crosses the upper reaches of Butte Fork, passes through some huge cedars in Cedar Basin, and ends at a junction with the Azalea Lake/Fir Glade Trail #955
at Azalea Lake