As you might expect from its name, Diamond View Lake has a stunning view of Diamond Peak, the highest mountain in the Diamond Peak Wilderness (8,744 feet). What isn’t obvious, however, is that the mountain and its surrounding wilderness did not get their name from the mountain’s shape, or from any gemstones that might have been found nearby. Instead, the peak was named for John Diamond, a member of the party that explored this area in 1852 in search of a wagon route into Central Oregon.
Don’t let the rather ho-hum origin of the name fool you, though. From an equestrian point of view, the trails in the Diamond Peak Wilderness are anything but ho-hum, and the trail to Diamond View Lake is one of the nicest.
You’ll start at Whitefish Horse Camp, located on the shore of beautiful Crescent Lake. At the north end of the campground, pick up the Whitefish Creek Trail #3842. The trail runs beside its namesake creek the entire way to the Diamond View Lake. For much of this distance you’ll hear the murmur of the creek as it flows down to Crescent Lake.
The trail climbs fairly steadily through lodgepole pine forest for a little more than 5 miles, gaining about 900 feet of elevation. You’ll cross the Crater Butte Trail #3844 about 0.7 mile before reaching Diamond View Lake. When you arrive at the lake you’ll find trees to tie your horse to and logs to sit on while you eat lunch and enjoy the view.
From the lake, you can either retrace your steps to the horse camp, or you can return to the Crater Butte Trail and follow it to the Snell Lake Trail #3843 and Road 6010 to make a long loop that goes past several more pretty lakes.
Whitefish Horse Camp has no day-use parking, so if you want to do a day ride you’ll need to park at the Windy-Oldenberg trailhead, located about a mile past Whitefish Horse Camp on Road 60.
Ride Statistics: It’s 10.5 miles round trip to Diamond View Lake from Whitefish Horse Camp, or 12.5 miles round trip from the Windy-Oldenberg trailhead, with elevations of 4,900 to 5,800 feet. If you opt to do the long loop, it’s 17.5 miles round trip from Whitefish or 19 miles round trip from the Windy-Oldenberg trailhead, with elevations of 4,900 to 6,250 feet. Hoof protection is recommended.
Getting to Whitefish Horse Camp: From Bend, drive south on Hwy. 97 for 45 miles to the town of Crescent. Turn right on Hwy. 61 and go west 12 miles to the junction with Hwy. 58, then turn right and go north 3.4 miles. From Eugene, take Hwy. 58 to Oakridge and continue another 35 miles. All, turn southwest on Crescent Lake Hwy. (Road 60). Drive 2 miles, cross the railroad tracks, turn right on Road 60 (the first paved road on the right), and continue 4.3 miles to the horse camp.
Season: Summer through fall
The Facilities at Whitefish Horse Camp: 17 sites. 14 sites have 2-horse corrals and 3 sites have 4-horse corrals. All sites are level and graveled, with a picnic table, fire ring, and parking for 2 vehicles. The campground has potable water spigots at each campsite, vault toilets, garbage cans, and manure pits. Camping fee. Reservations required: 877-444-6777 or www.recreation.gov. No fee for day-use parking at Windy-Oldenberg trailhead.
More Information: The trail to Diamond View Lake is covered in the Diamond Peak chapter of Riding Central Oregon Horse Trails, by Kim McCarrel, (Ponderosa Press, 2012).
Reprinted with permission from Northwest Rider Magazine, September 2015.