Belknap Crater via Pacific Crest Trail
2 reviews Deschutes National Forest #197 hike out of 227 in
3 hrs 24 min
This is a moderate out and back trail to Belknap Crater in Deschutes National Forest.
Trailhead is at PCT parking about a mile west of the observatory. No water on trail.
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Hike date: June 17, 2020 It was sunny, in the mid 50s. There were some patches of snow on the trail but none lasted more than 50 feet, able to traverse easily. Belknap had a lot of snow cover on the western side which was impossible to get up safely without micro spikes or crampons. The eastern side had little snow and there was no direct trail on that side (trail to the summit is on the west side that’s covered by snow). I didn’t attempt it but I saw another hiker make their way up the eastern side, carving their own path up the scree and hopefully making it to the top. If you come to summit this before July, I’d suggest either preparing to use crampons or micro spikes, or blazing your own way up the dry side. The hike into Little Belknap which is before the big Belkap is slightly technical, having to do a few small scrambles up and down rocks, but a great spot for a lunch break before the big summit. Saw 7 other day hikers.★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Trail across lava flows is rugged - be sure to wear good hiking shoes -- and not recommended for pets. We hiked both to the Little Belknap overlook and the Belknap Crater overlook and clocked 7.3 mi round trip; we took a leisurely 3:55 moving. Beautiful day with some wildflowers blooming on the non-lava sections. Note that the trail to Little Belknap is well marked, but no marking for the Belknap Crater turnoff. It is on the left, just after you leave the lava (past the trail to Little Belknap). Last mile or so is sandy scree, so slow going, but worth it. Views from the top are very nice - North & Middle Sister to the south (South Sister is behind them) and Mt. Washington, Three-Fingered Jack, a peek at Mt Jefferson to the north. Windy on the top and can be a bit cool, even on a hot day in Sisters.★ ★ ★ ★