75 Scrambles in Oregon Best Non-Technical Ascents  by Barbara I. Bond

75 Scrambles in Oregon: Best Non-Technical Ascents Guide Book

by Barbara I. Bond (The Mountaineers Books)
75 Scrambles in Oregon Best Non-Technical Ascents  by Barbara I. Bond
Calling all hikers with a yen for high, lonely places: you can bag that peak if you want to. Scrambling is the bridge between hiking and rock climbing. It involves off-trail travel-making your way over rough terrain and sometimes using your hands for balance and safety on nearly vertical rock-but does not require technical climbing gear. 75 Scrambles in Oregon will take you to some of the same summits that climbers enjoy-but by less extreme routes. These scrambles (short, easy introductory routes and longer, more difficult scrambles) are generously spread across the state: the Cascades; Klamath Mountains (SW corner); East Cascades; the Wallowas, Elkhorns, and Blue Mountains (NE); the Strawberry Mountains near John Day; and remote desert ranges (SE corner). Routes are rated for difficulty and skill level. Where nonstandard equipment such as an ice axe, crampons, rope, or helmet are advised, that is noted route by route.

© 2005 Barbara I Bond/The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "75 Scrambles in Oregon: Best Non-Technical Ascents" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 75.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 75.

The Rogue–Umpqua Divide Wilderness is a narrow, 33,000-acre wilderness in the western Cascades west of Crater Lake National Park. This wilderness is full of dense forest and high ridges. The western Cascades are older than the high Cascades and the mountains are more eroded and lower elevation than the young volcanoes along the Cascade crest. This wilderness scramble will provide you with a look at an unknown area with abundant spring wildflowers, dense mountain hemlock, and true fir.
Union Creek, OR - Climbing - Trail Length: 9.4
Abert Rim is a fault-block mountain common to the Northern Basin and Range. Oriented along a north-south axis, the mountain has a nearly vertical west side and gently sloping east side. The rim extends for more than 30 miles along Lake Abert and south to the Fremont National Forest. Along the way you will enjoy abundant wildflowers in early season, particularly near springs and the creek bed. Sagebrush, juniper, and the occasional pine are the dominant shrubs and trees. Special considerations: Abert Rim is in a Wilderness Study Area, a designation used to preserve the primitive value of a place.
Valley Falls, OR - Climbing - Trail Length: 8.8
In Oregon’s southeast nothing is as widely known as Steens Mountain. Less well known are the many other peaks in the immediate area. Just south of Steens Mountain lies a series of moderate peaks with nearly vertical eastern cliffs and gentle western slopes. Alvord Peak is the highest peak along a northsouth ridge called The Peaks. The Peaks stretch for about 7 miles, beginning near Buckwilder Pass and running northerly toward Whiskey Hill. Alvord Peak is an accessible peak just north of Buckwilder Pass. The mountainside is barren except for sagebrush and other desert shrubs. Horned lizards, pronghorn antelope, and bighorn sheep are animals you may encounter on this remote scramble. Special considerations: The BLM map will help in navigating the roads. Practice “Leave No Trace” in the Steens Mountain Wilderness Study Area.
Fields, OR - Climbing - Trail Length: 4.8
The Wallowa Mountains are the dominant range of northeastern Oregon. Aneroid Mountain is the easternmost peak of the high Wallowas. Nearby Aneroid Lake is a popular destination for day hikers and backpackers, and Aneroid Mountain has an easy approach from the lake area. The symmetric mountain dominates the surrounding high meadows and offers commanding views north of East Peak and Mount Howard. This scramble has delightful alpine wildflowers on the approach, whitebark and limber pine on the ridge, and views of the many lakes and tarns in this region of the wilderness. Expect solitude, too; once you leave the Aneroid Lake area you probably will not encounter many other people. Special considerations: Self-issue permits are available at trailheads for entrance into the Eagle Cap Wilderness; please register and read the wilderness regulations.
Joseph, OR - Climbing,Hiking,Snowshoeing - Trail Length: 17
Deep in the Winema National Forest outside Klamath Falls is the tiny Mountain Lakes Wilderness. One of Oregon’s smallest wilderness areas at less than 25,000 acres, Mountain Lakes is rugged and has a lot to offer. The highlight of the wilderness is the caldera left over after a large volcano complex collapsed, similar to Crater Lake. The resulting ridges and peaks surround jewel-like lakes, tarns, and ponds. The hike into the Mountain Lakes up the Clover Creek Trail is challenging and takes you through dense mixed-conifer forest and alpine wildflowers. Once on the rim of the caldera, enjoy the views of the lake basin and surrounding ridges and peaks. Special considerations: The Mountain Lakes Wilderness map has the correct location of the trailhead. Mosquitoes in early season.
Klamath Falls, OR - Backpacking,Climbing,Hiking - Trail Length: 13
The Mount Washington Wilderness is an austerely beautiful place. The landscape is one of dark and forbidding lava punctuated by the contrasting green of whitebark pines and mountain hemlock and the red cinders of the various cones and peaks. Belknap Crater is one of the youngest volcanoes in the area and was largely responsible for the formidable lava flows in the area 1400 years ago. The young shield volcano is a gently sloping broad peak, which retains its shape due to the lack of any recent glacial activity. A scramble up the northeast slope is short, and steep, and provides a good introduction for those less-experienced scramblers, including older children. The summit of Belknap Crater reveals a distinctive, steep-sided crater, which may be viewed from all angles if you so choose.
Sisters, OR - Backcountry Skiing & Snowboarding,Climbing - Trail Length: 6
Broken Top is a highly dissected composite volcano and an older member of the Three Sisters group. The scramble to the viewpoint near the summit will give you a keen view of the exposed insides of a Cascade volcano. Glacial ice and erosion have carved away three sides of Broken Top, leaving a colorful remnant with crumbly basaltic lava and impressive rocky ridges. There are two major glaciers atop Broken Top; you will look down on the Bend Glacier as you make your final ascent. The scramble up the southwest ridge is athletic and will require balance and agility to avoid dislodging the loose talus while ascending. Special considerations: In early season you may need crampons and ice ax.
Sisters, OR - Climbing - Trail Length: 12
Canyon Mountain is a rugged multisummit peak south of Canyon City in the western corner of the Strawberry Mountain Wilderness. Canyon Mountain, like other peaks in the Strawberry Range, has been shaped by glacial ice and erosion. The peak’s eastern slopes are nearly vertical and it has a unique twin summit. The Canyon Mountain Trail is a lovely hike with multiple creek crossings, seasonal wildflowers, and old-growth ponderosa pine, lodgepole pine, and Douglas fir. Cold winters and deep snows prevent access into this part of the wilderness until late summer. This scramble features views into seldom-visited parts of the wilderness, from Green Mountain and along the ridge climb to Canyon Mountain.
John Day, OR - Climbing - Trail Length: 17.6
The Wallowa Mountains lie at the eastern end of the Blue Mountains of northeast Oregon. Protected largely by the vast Eagle Cap Wilderness, the Wallowas offer scramblers opportunities to enjoy miles of isolated ridges, dramatic glacial valleys, and high-elevation peaks. The Hurricane Creek Trail runs down a majestic canyon between Hurwal Divide and Hurricane Divide. This canyon offers scramblers access to both ridges and the Wallowas’ highest peak— Sacajawea. The Thorp Creek Trail is not on many maps but is the approach for routes up to Hurwal Divide, Chief Joseph Mountain, and Sacajawea Peak. Special considerations: You will have to ford Hurricane Creek. Trekking poles may help with the steep descents. Self-issue permits are available at trailheads for entrance into the Eagle Cap Wilderness; please register and read the wilderness regulations.
Joseph, OR - Climbing - Trail Length: 13.4
The Wallowa–Whitman National Forest spreads out over 2.5 million acres of northeastern Oregon. The Wallowa Mountains cut across the northern section of the forest. The Eagle Cap Wilderness, where most of the high Wallowa peaks are, was put aside to preserve these rugged ridges, peaks, and glacial valleys. China Cap is a small peak by Wallowa standards, at the southern tip of the China Cap Ridge. The peak is surrounded by dense mixed-conifer forest and has good trail access. As you approach the scramble you may see elk or deer in the forest. Special considerations: Pack animals may be on these trails; stay in view and slowly move out of the way to allow animals to pass. Self-issue permits are available at trailheads for entrance into the Eagle Cap Wilderness; please register and read the wilderness regulations.
Union, OR - Climbing - Trail Length: 9.3
Cornucopia Peak is in the southern portion of the Wallowa Mountains. Barely inside the Eagle Cap Wilderness, the area around Cornucopia was the site of a gold strike in the late nineteenth century. The town of Cornucopia sprang up, grew, and was deserted in the mid-twentieth century when the gold strike ran out. Largely a privately owned ghost town now, the town has recently seen some new life as a private development. Cornucopia Peak stands out against its surroundings with its bright gray granite slopes and broad summit ridge. The summit once had a fire lookout that was built in 1924. The meadows and creeks around the mountain make this scramble a lovely destination in a less-crowded part of the wilderness. Special considerations: The Cliff Creek Trail may be very difficult to follow in some places. USGS maps and a compass are necessary for navigation. An ice ax is needed if you choose to travel on snow. Self-issue permits are available at trailheads for entrance into the Eagle Cap Wilderness; please register and read the wilderness regulations.
Halfway, OR - Climbing - Trail Length: 9.6
Cowhorn Mountain is a highly eroded Central Cascades volcano just south of Crescent Lake in the Oregon Cascades Recreation Area (OCRA). Established in 1984, the OCRA contains 156,900 acres of land managed by the Forest Service. The OCRA is flanked on the north by the Diamond Peak Wilderness and on the south by the Mount Thielsen Wilderness, and offers visitors a range of scrambling, hiking, and climbing opportunities. The approach to Cowhorn Mountain begins in mixed conifer forest, which gives way to a short ridge scramble on fairly solid rock. Along the ridge the forest changes to subalpine trees that include whitebark pines. Cowhorn, which at one time had a summit spire, was once called Little Cowhorn to distinguish it from Big Cowhorn, but Big Cowhorn has since been renamed Mount Thielsen. Special considerations: Forest Road 60 (Windigo Pass Road) usually has deep snow until July; call the ranger district to find out when the road opens.
Chemult, OR - Climbing - Trail Length: 9.2
The Fremont National Forest constitutes one of the largest forested areas in Oregon. The Warner Mountains, northeast of Lakeview, are a series of lichen- crusted, rocky peaks surrounded by dense forestland. Fremont National Recreation Trail 160 is an ambitious project that gives hikers and scramblers access to the forest from north to south, allowing them to experience the diversity of the area. The forest is quite a contrast to the rocky, arid plains covered with sagebrush, western juniper, and other species adapted to the harsh environment. You can reach one part of the trail at the South Fork Crooked Creek Trailhead. This area has stands of huge ponderosa pines, which stand out due to the bright color of their bark. In the spring there are abundant alpine wildflowers.
Valley Falls, OR - Climbing - Trail Length: 8.2
The Sky Lakes Wilderness, in the Southern Cascades, is south of Crater Lake National Park and encompasses nearly 120,000 acres of forested wild lands. Sky Lakes is home to the Seven Lakes Basin. Devils Peak, the highest peak in this area, has a forbidding north face; Lee Peak is the second-highest remnant of an old volcano peak. This scramble is a good introduction to the Sky Lakes Wilderness and may be a good entry point for a several-day backpack among the many lakes and tarns in the scenic basins. Special considerations: Prepare for lots of mosquitoes in early season. Snow lingers on the high ridges, particularly in the forest or on northern exposures, into July.
Prospect, OR - Climbing - Trail Length: 11.7
Summer Lake is a popular birding area known for its migratory flocks of waterfowl and shorebirds. Hot springs in the area also attract visitors. Surrounded by sand dunes and sagebrush flats, the area’s peaks are rugged and isolated— chances are you will scramble all day without seeing another person. Diablo Peak is part of the Diablo Mountain Range in the high lava plains of the Northern Basin and Range. Natural features include tall sagebrush, desert wildflowers, and volcanic rock. This scramble has a bit of everything and will take you across sand dunes, over volcanic ridges, and up to the blocky summit of Diablo Peak. Special considerations: There may be blowing sand on the sand dunes. Diablo Peak is in a Wilderness Study Area, a designation used to preserve the primitive value of a place. Use the BLM recreation map to navigate the WSA roads.
Summer Lake, OR - Climbing - Trail Length: 9.8
Diamond Peak, south of Willamette Pass, is a distinctive landmark with its broad flanks and often-snowy slopes. The Diamond Peak Wilderness is home to its namesake peak and several other eroded volcanic remnants along the Cascade Crest. Odell Lake and Crescent Lake form the north and south boundaries on the eastern side of the wilderness. Although Diamond Peak is not the oldest peak in the wilderness, it is the highest and its summit views command respect. The surrounding forest is dense with a mixture of remaining old-growth and second-growth trees. Diamond Peak is a pleasant early summer scramble with dramatic views all along the upper ridge and summit. Special considerations: Many mosquitoes in early season.
Oakridge, OR - Climbing - Trail Length: 10
In south-central Oregon, the Fremont–Winema National Forest covers more than 2 million acres from the slopes of the Eastern Cascades to the high desert’s prominent mountains around Lakeview. Drake Peak, at the east end of the Warner Mountains, is in the midst of scenic eastside forest and sagebrush flat. The Drake Peak Lookout (not actually on Drake peak) is an active fire lookout as well as a historic lookout; the latter is available for overnight use. This historic lookout is the highest lookout in Oregon, perched at 8222 feet. Wildflowers are rich and varied in the spring and will also delight you in the fall. The scrambles to Light and Drake Peaks offer visitors an inside look at this unique area.
Valley Falls, OR - Climbing - Trail Length: 7
Eagle Cap is the centerpiece of the Eagle Cap Wilderness in far northeastern Oregon’s Wallowa Mountains. Eagle Cap originally was thought to be the tallest peak in the Eagle Mountains. Eventually several other peaks turned out to be taller, but Eagle Cap remains the hub of the wilderness. The Wallowa Mountains have seventeen named peaks over 9000 feet high. Although this is mostly a trail hike, you could not visit the Eagle Cap Wilderness without scrambling to the top of its namesake mountain. Special considerations: In early season you will need crampons and ice ax to cross the snowfield. Self-issue permits are available at trailheads for entrance into the Eagle Cap Wilderness; please register and read the wilderness regulations.
Joseph, OR - Climbing,Hiking - Trail Length: 17
Northeastern Oregon’s Wallowa Mountains is a land of contrasts. Long ago glacial ice left behind sharp ridges, peaks, lakes, and valleys. The forest changes as you climb, with lodgepole pine and fir giving way to whitebark pine and dwarf juniper. For some visitors, the summit of Mount Howard is as high as they want to go. For others, the tram is just the starting point high atop Mount Howard. East Peak is a worthwhile introduction to the high Wallowas. The scramble up the ridge is challenging and has wonderful view Special considerations: Please follow all Eagle Cap Wilderness regulations.
Joseph, OR - Climbing - Trail Length: 4.3
The Tillamook State Forest is a thriving example of a major reforestation project. The forest was formerly known as the Tillamook Burn, since a cycle of four fires from 1933 to 1951 destroyed much of the old-growth forest. The restored forest is a temperate rain forest and contains Douglas fir, rare and fragile wildflowers, flowing creeks and streams, and miles of trails for recreational use. The scramble up to Elk Mountain is athletic and will reward you with views of the Wilson River and surrounding forestlands. From Kings Mountain you can see to the coast on a clear day. Special considerations: In winter, only experienced scramblers should attempt this route. Carry and be proficient with an ice ax. Deep snowdrifts may linger until spring on north or shady slopes.
Nehalem, OR - Climbing - Trail Length: 9.5