Black Crater – Continuing the Oregon Quest

Peak Summited2019 Black Crater
Type of HikeDay hike
TrailheadBlack Crater Trail 34508
Road ConditionsRoad suitable for all vehicles
Bug StatusNo bugs
Snow ConditionsIntermittent snow - not hard to cross
Trail ConditionsTrail in good condition

Black Crater took place on Day 3 of our ten-day, 100 mile Oregon trip. The day before, we had hiked to Green Lakes and back out from the highway, which got us up to 19 miles by the time we started Black Crater.

Black Crater was the second hike of the six in this challenge, and our first chance to get up close to the lava flows. We started this hike around 7:00, which was becoming a standard for this trip, much to my delight.

The first 2 miles or so of this trail travel through burnt forest, surrounding you with a sense of eerie wonderment. Everything was quiet, except for the hammering of the woodpeckers, and despite the dead trees standing ghastly and skeletal around the trail, there was a current of green sweeping across the landscape as the new growth came in to take advantage of the empty space and nutritious soil. Once we made our way through the dead forest and got higher up towards the peak, the trees transitioned to live pines and the trail started to become obscured by snow in spots. The snow wasn't difficult to cross, but as we continued, it expanded into larger areas, covering the trail around bends and making it difficult to follow. Thankfully, I had a GPS and we were able to navigate the switchbacks safely, using only trekking poles for extra balance.

As we approached the top, we ran across the final flat expanse and climbed up the exposed volcanic rock to the peak. Now that we were even closer to the Sisters, we were able to appreciate their snow-covered beauty more fully.

We sat, enjoyed our obligatory trail mix and water snack, and talked about how much it would suck to fall down the exposed cliff that marked the edge of the Crater. Once we'd rested, we took some pictures, and proceeded back to the car.

As we descended, we crossed paths with about seven or eight people, a far cry from the 150 people we passed on the Green Lakes trail the day before.

We headed over to Newberry National Volcanic Monument to round out the day with a hike up Lava Butte and a trip down the Lava Tube, bringing us up to 30 miles for the trip so far. Only 70 more to go!


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