▶️ Road to Pilot Butte summit still not open to cars; pedestrians OK

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The road to the summit of Pilot Butte in Bend, one of the busiest parks in the state, did not open as planned for Memorial Day weekend. The lack of vehicle access to the summit stymied the plans of many people who wanted to take their friends, family and visitors up in the car to see the 360-degree views.

However, the road is now open to pedestrians and cyclists.

“It’s great. It should be great for driving and walking. The dips are gone. It’s a whole lot nicer,” said Ron Platt of Bend.

Pilot Butte Park manager Joe Wanamaker says the paving of the road is complete, but striping and delineators still need to be installed on the steep and twisty route.

“So glad that we found the parking lot and walked up the trail. It’s beautiful. It’s stunning. It’s worth every step to come up here,” said Jennifer Kirby, visiting from San Francisco. 

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The nearly $500,000 road reconstruction project began in early April. There is now a hard deadline of June 9 for the contractor to complete the work and open the road to motor vehicles.

In the meantime, pedestrians of all abilities are enjoying walking up the trail alongside the road to the summit.

“Nice and easy. We were just trying to get our dog a little exercise before we take him back to Portland. He gets a little antsy in the car,” said Kett McKenna from Portland. “It’s really nice. Quick, easy walk up and then we are going to go to Worthy and that’s that.”

Visitors will appreciate the smooth and level surface of the road when it finally opens to traffic and are already enjoying the improved trail alongside the road.

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