Don’t be fooled by the sign at the Trail head, the distance to the summit is 6 miles. What they don’t say is that it is also one mile up. If you want to climb a mountain this is a strenuous but non-technical climb.
We started at the Devil’s Lake Trail head at 6 AM. If I were to do this again I would start earlier, one person we talked with had started at 4. Once above tree line the trail is very exposed and therefore could get very hot. I was a bit surprised at how many people were making the climb. On a midweek day we saw 30-40 other people.
The hike to the overlook for Moraine Lake was mostly in the forest and is continuously uphill. This 1 ¾ mile stretch is a good test for the rest of the climb, if you have trouble with this section I would not recommend going much further. You could make a couple of nice loops here, one that we did not try is down the trail to Wickiup Plain and is about 3 ½ miles to the parking area.
This is Mortaine Lake and the reports that we got were that the water was very cold still, probably because it is filled from snow melt.
We hiked in Mid July and there were many stretches of the trail that were still snow covered. Traversing them was not a problem, but it did hide the trail making it hard to know for sure where to go.
The climb got progressively steeper and we moved from firm pumice sand to loose pumice and stones.
Along the way are regular signs of previous climbers. The views do get progressively more impressive.
In this photo you can see the trail running diagonally across the mountain from the right to the left, leading to a scramble up to Lewis Glacier just over the ridge in the middle.
In the center of this picture you can see the trail zigzagging up through the red pumice just to the left of the glacier. This section is really steep, but fortunately you are nearing the top.
Aside from the reward of having climbed a mountain the views from the top are spectacular.
This photo is looking south with Mt Batchelor in the foreground, Sparks Lake is the large lake. Because of the haze you can’t really see the distant mountains in this photo but you could see Diamond Peak and Mt Thielsen.
Looking Southeast you down on Brokentop with two of the Green Lakes in the valley.
Looking north you can see the other two sisters, Mt Jefferson behind the North Sister, Mt Washington between them and I believe St Helens in the distance. If you look closely at the upper right you can see a forest fire.
The decent is not nearly as heart beating; however the loose footing makes it strenuous. I would strongly recommend trekking poles as they saved me several times from taking a tumble and you can relieve some of the strain on your legs.
Once down to the car I thought, well been there, done that. Now that the soreness has subsided I am starting the think that this should be an annual event.