The Scott Mountain Loop treats you to a spectacular 360-degree panorama from the summit of its namesake mountain. As if that's not enough, it also visits five lakes and runs beside a jagged lava flow with a view of the Three Sisters. On a clear day, it’s a truly stunning ride.
Located just west of Santiam Pass, Scott Mountain is a 6,116-foot volcanic butte with an open crest that offers phenomenal views of The Three Sisters, Mt. Washington, Three Fingered Jack, Mt. Jefferson, and Mt. Hood.
The routes to and from the summit go past several pretty lakes and along an interesting lava flow. Every mile or so, there’s something new to delight your eyes.
To ride this 8-mile loop, start on the Hand Lake Trail, which will take you past Scott Lake, through Lake Valley to Hand Lake, and then past a relatively recent lava flow that offers a view of the Three Sisters. Turn left on the Hand Lake Cutoff Trail, then later, turn right on the Scott Mountain Trail, which will take you up a few switchbacks to the top of Scott Mountain. What a panorama!
Follow the Scott Mountain Trail down off the butte and turn left on the Benson Trail to complete the loop. It will take you to a cluster of tiny lakes called the Tenas Lakes, then past the much larger Benson Lake and back to your trailer.
This scenic ride is not to be missed!
The Scott Pass Loop is covered in the McKenzie Pass chapter of Riding Central Oregon Horse Trails by Kim McCarrel, available at www.nwhorsetrails.com.