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Little Belknap Crater

Central Oregon, Oregon

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Little Belknap Crater

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  • Pacific Crest Trail marker. Left to right in the distance: Belknap Crater (6,877'), Little Belknap Crater, Mount Washington (7,795').- Little Belknap Crater
  • Islands of forest isolated in the lava flows.- Little Belknap Crater
  • Into the lava fields. Belknap Crater (6,877') in the distance.- Little Belknap Crater
  • North Sister (10,085') and Middle Sister (10,047') seen from the trail.- Little Belknap Crater
  • North Sister (10,085') and Middle Sister (10,047') seen from the trail.- Little Belknap Crater
  • A lone flower in the sea of black lava. North Sister (10,085') and Middle Sister (10,047') in the background- Little Belknap Crater
  • The junction with the Pacific Crest Trail.- Little Belknap Crater
  • Short scramble up to the summit of Little Belknap Crater. North Sister (10,085') and Middle Sister (10,047') in the distance.- Little Belknap Crater
  • Panorama from summit: looking northwest at Mount Washington (7,795').- Little Belknap Crater
  • Panorama from summit: looking northwest at Mount Washinton (7,795') and Mount Jefferson (10,495').- Little Belknap Crater
  • Panorama from summit: looking north at Black Butte (6,436').- Little Belknap Crater
  • Panorama from summit: looking east at Black Crater (7,257').- Little Belknap Crater
  • Panorama from summit: looking south at North Sister (10,085'), Middle Sister (10,047'), and The Husband  (7,524').- Little Belknap Crater
  • Panorama from summit: looking southwest at The Husband  (7,524').- Little Belknap Crater
  • Panorama from summit: looking west at Belknap Crater (6,877').- Little Belknap Crater
  • North Sister (10,085') and Middle Sister (10,047') from the trail.- Little Belknap Crater
  • Dusk on the North Sister (10,085') and Middle Sister (10,047'), seen from the trail.- Little Belknap Crater
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Short hike. Amazing views of the Cascades. Lava fields.
Cons: 
Exposed to sun and wind.
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Region:
Central Oregon, OR
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
No
Net Elevation Gain: 
1,083.00 ft (330.10 m)
Parking Pass: 
NW Forest Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Suitable for:
Hiking, Horseback
Total Distance: 
4.40 mi (7.08 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
5,222.00 ft (1,591.67 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Contributor

Fifteen miles west of Sisters where Highway 242 crests the McKenzie Pass lies a beautiful and unworldly area of black lava flows and Cascade mountain peaks. These lava flows run from the bases of the North Sister and Middle Sister north toward Mount Washington. This raw and desolate landscape is mostly the work of two small craters, Belknap Crater and its smaller sibling, Little Belknap Crater. Little Belknap Crater can be accessed from the Mckenzie Pass via the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). This is a short, 4.4-mile there-and-back hike. The first 2 miles follows the PCT along broken lava rock and though a couple of “islands” of forest. The Pacific Crest Trail then intersects the access trail to the crater summit. There is a short and steep scramble up to the summit, where you are greeted with a 360-degree view of the Central Oregon Cascades. You'll find a small wind shelter and bench at the top just in case the weather is a little uncooperative.

Be sure to bring your sunscreen and water, as the area has no shade and the black lava rocks act as an effective thermal mass. Also note that this is not a good hike for dogs, as the lava rock is sharp and could lead to an injury. Finally, Highway 242, the only automobile access to the area, is only open from June until October due to snow.

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(56 within a 30 mile radius)

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(146 within a 30 mile radius)

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