Dixie Butte is a standalone summit in the heart of the Blue Mountains. From the summit and all along the trail, the views of Strawberry Mountain and the Strawberry Range looming over the John Day River and Prairie City are spectacular, and the Greenhorn and Elkhorn Mountains that make up the remaining parts of the Blue Mountains offer even more mountain views. In the winter and spring, the road to the top is impassable to all but the rare adventurer on snowshoes or cross country skis, making it an excellent time to visit.
The landscape drops off significantly from the summit in all directions, which is ideal for the fire lookout. The lookout tower at the top is occupied during the summer months; in the winter, the fire lookout is boarded up, so it is likely your tracks to the summit will be the only human tracks you'll see along the way. Since Dixie Butte stands alone (unlike the rest of the Blue Mountains that offer long mountain ridges), the top is prone to changing weather patterns, so check the weather closely before making the trip.
The path to the summit follows Forest Service Road 2610 and is mostly forested until you get close to the top. For a chance to explore the Blue Mountains in the snow, Dixie Butte is a great option, and the road offers enough trail to not get lost. There are many offshoot logging roads, so be sure to bring a map or GPS, since going down the wrong road could mean taking a detour long enough to keep you from reaching the summit on a day trip.
Winter backcountry adventures can be dangerous outdoor activities that pose significant risks as conditions affecting safety (i.e. weather, snowpack stability, avalanche hazard) are constantly changing. Prior to engaging in these activities each individual should get the proper training to make safe decisions and be equipped to use avalanche safety resources and tools. Please visit our Backcountry Skiing and Avalanche Safety post to learn more.