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Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
?
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
7.80 mi (12.55 km)
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The rocky, cinder-strewn top of Black Crater briefly served as a fire lookout site for the Forest Service in the 1920s. Today, just a few remnants are left atop the summit. From the top, all of Central Oregon unfolds in front of the hiker's eyes. The huge lava flow from Little Belknap Crater, all the central Cascade volcanoes, and Oregon's high desert plateau are visible on a clear day. While much of the trail ascends through a dry forest with no significant views or notable flowers, the top portion of the trail more than makes up for the monotony. Once the trail approaches treeline, colorful flowers burst through the rocky soil. Trees part to provide views of Mount Washington and the Three Sisters. And the stark beauty of the summit plateau is easily the highlight of the hike.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

Not Required

Pros

Tremendous views. Unique rock garden near the summit.

Cons

May be blocked by snow in early in the season.

Trailhead Elevation

4,800.00 ft (1,463.04 m)

Net Elevation Gain

2,500.00 ft (762.00 m)

Features

Big vistas

Suitable for

Horseback

Location

Field Guide + Map

Comments

09/23/2018
The trail has been re-opened in the last month or so.
We hiked this yesterday with beautiful, sunny weather and clear 360 views from the top. A few notes to add to/ update the general description:
-The trail is through last year's burn for approx. 2.75 mi of the 3.8 miles to the summit
-the trail in many places is very narrow, leading me to question its suitability for horseback. Horses would be forced to go off the trail and would impact sensitive forest regeneration.
-the lower approx. 2 miles of the trail is moderate with a few, short steep sections. The remaining approx. 1.6 is much steeper and I would class at the high end of strenuous except for fit hikers! But doable if you take your time.
-The views at the top are Worth It!!
09/12/2018
The trail has been reopened. https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/deschutes/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD593686
07/15/2018
The Black Crater Trail is currently closed due to post fire condition hazards.

https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/deschutes/recreation/recarea/?recid=39162
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