about 15 miles rt
gain: ~6200 ft
max: 8128 ft
gpx tracks, use at your own risk: I made a rookie mistake. I had gone up Sourdough the day before and my gps batteries were getting low but I didn’t have any extras. They crapped out on the way up so the track is incomplete so I am not sharing. I intend to go up again next year, I will share then.
Glorious, absolutely glorious. Well, the hike past the lake was. Until then it was nice enough switchbacks through an older forest. Let’s start at the beginning. Parking for this is at N48 42.376 W120 55.150. It took me a while to figure that out because there is no signage for Crater Mountain really, just the other trails that take off from there (Jackita Ridge Trail is the main one). I had spent the night in the area. I had gone up Sourdough the day before, that is yet another wonderful hike I will share next since I am working backwards. Since I had gone up Sourdough I was tired to start with so I set a slow comfortable pace up the switchbacks. The trail enters into Wilderness about 2 miles up and you can definitely tell by the change in the forest, here is was older, more established. The switches get you up the hill and pass some nice rock formations and creeks along the way. I can’t imagine this trail ever dries out so water should be available year round. And you will need it because you will be gaining about 6200 ft before you are done.
There is an unsigned junction at just about N48 43.984 W120 54.264, it is right before the main trail crosses the creek again. The trail for Crater goes off to climber’s left. Once on the trail, it is easy to follow it up to the lake. Now the fun starts.
Once you get to the lake, take a picture. Apparently I forgot, did I mention I was tired. I need to drink more water. After you take the picture, turn to your left and just continue following the trail. At this point you can see were you will be ending up.
At one time there were two, yes two! fire lookouts up here. I was heading to where one of them use to be. As the trail continues it goes up, up, and some more up. Some of the best views ever. But for some reason, I took very few pictures. Perhaps it was one of those times when pictures could never truly show the beauty. Perhaps I need to drink more water, rest a little. I wasn’t thinking of starting a blog back then…all of those four months ago. I obviously did not blog prepare adequately. Here are a few:
After that, nada.
Oh well. Back to the trail. Did I mention that there were some of the best views EVER! I only ran into three other people on the trail. One guy turned around at the scramble but the other two went up. Oh, there is a scramble, if you are not comfortable with this then turn around here. The scramble route is somewhat marked with paint on the rocks. Even so, it made my heart beat quite quickly. I took the lead of the other two and left my pack at the start of the scramble so that I was not off balance. At the top of the rocks, you need to go just a bit further to get to the summit. It is worth it, do it.
This was a great day, a great hike. Next time I do this hike first so I am struggling so much. Of course the day before I went up Sourdough, then down, then partway back up to pick up my first aid kit so I did about 7000 then as well.
And, I would do it all over again.