Belknap Crater

August 16, 1981

We left Eugene at 7:20 a.m. under clear skies and headed for McKenzie Pass where we arrived at the Pacific Crest trailhead at 9:10 a.m. After changing shoes and filling out the required wilderness permit, we headed up the trail and into the Mt. Washington Wilderness. We hiked up the wide sandy trail for about ½ mile where we crossed a small section of the lava flow and then wound around to the north side of a timbered hill that is surrounded by the lava flow. Here we stopped for a short rest before heading out into the main area of lava which originates at Little Belknap Crater. Traveling at a steady pace, we reached the junction of the trail to Little Belknap and decided to investigate the source of the dark gray lava. After a short rest atop Little Belknap, we worked our way back to the Crest Trail and followed it north to the edge of the lava flow. From there, we headed toward Belknap Crater’s north side through timber and clearings. The going became more difficult as we started climbing up dirt and scree slopes, but we eventually arrived at the eastern edge of the most northerly of Belknap’s three craters. At this point, we turned south and started climbing in earnest and after a hard slog up the north slope we reached the summit of Belknap Crater (6872'). The weather was warm and clear with a strong wind from the west. Many high points along the crest of the Cascades were visible including the Three Sisters and Mt. Washington. Close at hand, the main crater of Belknap yawned beneath us. After a 45-minute lunch break, we started back down the north slope and stopped for an afternoon rest in the woods before hiking across the lava flow on the Crest Trail and back to the car. Enjoying this trip were John and Dallas Cole with leader Richard Eden.


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