Hiding away in the southwest corner of Crater Lake National Park, Union Peak rises quietly above the pine forest. Its barren, rocky summit is dwarfed by its more popular neighbors like Mount Thielsen and Mount McLoughlin. But Union Peak is definitely worth a visit. Since the long approach and distance from other attractions in the park keeps most visitors away, you'll likely find solitude on your hike.
A well-graded trail leads hikers right up to the summit. The first few miles follow a relatively flat portion of the Pacific Crest Trail. From there, the Union Peak Trail begins ascending gently through forest, meadows, and pumice plains. Once you get your first views of the rocky top, the trail starts climbing more rapidly. As you stop to catch your breath, notice the variety of hardy plants and trees making a life on the rock. Western pasqueflower, Oregon stonecrop, and whitebark pine are able to withstand the long winters here.
On a clear day, views extend south to Mount Shasta and north to Mount Thielsen. While you can't see Crater Lake from the summit, you can see the features along the rim of the crater, like Mount Scott and Llao Rock.