Why the Eastside Rocks: #1 Pilot Butte

A couple of weeks ago the Bulletin ran a Sunday "Perspective" article on the Westside versus the Eastside, covering the disparities between the two and really digging into some interesting demographics and specifics. I thought it was a pretty good article, actually (behind their paywall, though, so you can’t read it online), and it inspired this "series" of posts.

Seems like everyone has a ready answer as to why the Westside is cool/better/the place to be, but no one has really stepped up to answer for the Eastside. I happen to live on the Eastside, so why not me? (Plus, you know, the blog thing.)

So… Why the Eastside Rocks, reason #1:

Pilot Butte

Pilot Butte, Bend, OregonYou can forget your Awbrey Butte, Pilot Butte is way cooler: not only do you not have houses cluttering it up, but it’s an extinct volcano—which makes Bend only one of a very few cities in the entire United States to have a volcano within its city limits. (Portland is another.)

Let’s not forget that it’s a State Park (technically, a State Scenic Viewpoint) with some amazing views of the Bend area and the Cascade Mountains—all for no charge. You can drive to the summit or hike it along one of the several trails that wind their way around the Butte. And hiking the Butte is quite the popular activity!

Plus, each Fourth of July, the official fireworks show is conducted from the top of the Butte… and watching the resulting fire is just as much an event as the fireworks themselves.

Finally, in my opinion it is the defining geographical feature of Bend. It’s visible from miles away and has an unmistakably distinct shape. It’s an imposing presence from pretty much anywhere on the Eastside, and, well, it just wouldn’t be Bend without it.

(Image courtesy of USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory.)

3 thoughts on “Why the Eastside Rocks: #1 Pilot Butte

  1. From my house way SE, I can see the Sisters, Mt. Jefferson, Mt Washington, Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams, Mt. St. Helens, and the Ochocos. When I go over to the west side, so much of what I love is blocked by trees and hills. I looked at houses on the west side, and while they had much to offer, they couldn’t come close to the view I have in front of me everyday.

  2. We live near Bear Creek school and yes, Eastside is great. I’m walking distance to a cup of coffee and the commercial library (Barnes & Noble). A ten minute bike ride and I’m downtown having a brew and a burger or catching a movie at the Old Mill.

    Totally agree on Pilot Butte. I read somewhere it is the most visited state park in Oregon. Living in the shadow of the Butte on the 4th of July we actually spend more time watching the falling embers ignite whatever they land on than we do the fireworks.

    And living within walking distance of Juniper is awesome. The only downside to the swim center is the expansion. It’s often crowded now but like a fitness center in January, that should go away once people file their healthy resolutions under "Maybe Next Year."

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