Spencer Butte

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Spencer Butte
Eugene and Spencer Butte from Skinner Butte
View of Eugene from Skinner Butte, with Spencer Butte in the distance
Map showing the location of Spencer Butte
Map showing the location of Spencer Butte
Spencer Butte
Location South of Eugene,Oregon, USA
Coordinates 43°58′59″N 123°05′45″W / 43.9831°N 123.0957°W / 43.9831; -123.0957Coordinates: 43°58′59″N 123°05′45″W / 43.9831°N 123.0957°W / 43.9831; -123.0957
Range Cascade Volcanoes
Part of Little Butte Volcanics[1]
Highest point 2,058 feet (627 m)[1]
Formed by Intrusion of lava through sandstone base, and subsequent erosion of sandstone
Geology Butte
Age approximately 23 to 30 million years
Orogeny Phanerozoic orogen

Spencer Butte is a prominent landmark in Lane County, Oregon, United States, described in the National Geodetic Survey as "a prominent timbered butte with a bare rocky summit" on the southern edge of Eugene, with an elevation of 2,058 feet (627 m).[1] Spencer Butte is accessible from Spencer Butte Park and has several hiking trails to the summit.[2] The tree cover on the butte is predominantly Douglas-fir, however the butte is treeless at its summit. The butte is the tallest point visible when looking south from downtown Eugene.


View north across the summit

The butte was called Champ-a te or Cham-o-tee by the native Kalapuya, meaning rattlesnake.[3]

One popular theory is that Spencer Butte was named for a young Englishman of the Hudson's Bay Company named Spencer, who was said to have been killed by the Kalapuya after climbing the hill alone.[4] Another, less popular theory holds that the butte was named after Secretary of War John C. Spencer in July 1845 by Elijah White.[2][3] Spencer was no longer Secretary of War by 1845, however.

In popular culture[edit]

  • The song "All Of Me Wants All You" by Sufjan Stevens mentions Spencer Butte twice; the song is from the album Carrie & Lowell, which also includes a song titled "Eugene" after the city, and makes many other references to places in Oregon.[5]


View of the southern Willamette Valley from the summit of Spencer Butte.
  1. ^ a b c "Spencer Butte - NGS Data Sheet". U.S. National Geodetic Survey. Retrieved January 20, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Sullivan, William (2005). 100 Hikes in the Central Oregon Cascades (3rd ed.). Eugene, Oregon: Navillus Press. pp. 176–177. ISBN 0-9677830-6-2. 
  3. ^ a b "Spencer Butte Park History" (PDF). City of Eugene. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 21, 2011. Retrieved 2008-05-05. 
  4. ^ "Indians, Surveyors, Incidents Gave Names to Streams, Lakes and Mountains". Eugene Register-Guard. 4 January 1942. p. 5. Retrieved 23 April 2015. 
  5. ^ Wright, Craig. "Emerald Recommends the best albums of 2015". Emerald Media. Retrieved April 15, 2016. 

External links[edit]