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Howlock Mountain Loop

Howlock Mountain Loop, located in the Mt. Thielsen Wilderness near Diamond Lake, is a spectacular ride!  It features green meadows, a vast pumice plain, a burbling creek, and close-up views of craggy volcanic peaks.  And it’s just one of several fabulous rides you can experience out of Howlock Mountain Trailhead.Howlock Mountain Loop

Howlock Mountain from the Howlock Mountain Loop.

Difficulty:  Moderate

Distance:  16 miles round trip

Elevation:  5,350 to 7,400 feet

The Back Story

At 8,351 feet, Howlock Mountain is probably the highest volcanic peak in Oregon that nobody has heard of.  It was named after a warring Paiute Indian chief whose 1860s-era exploits were well known in the area.  Howlock Mountain is part of the Sawtooth Ridge that extends north from Mt. Thielsen.  The minute you see it, you’ll know why it’s called Sawtooth Ridge.Howlock Mountain Loop

Howlock Mountain is part of Sawtooth Ridge, north of Mt. Thielsen.

The Ride

Pick up the Howlock Mountain Trail on the east side of the Howlock Mountain Trailhead.  The ride follows the Howlock Mountain Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail, and the Thielsen Creek Trail to create a fun lollipop loop.Howlock Mountain Loop

The horses get a well-deserved drink near Timothy Meadows.

You’ll ride beside the lush Timothy Meadows, along pretty Thielsen Creek, through shady old-growth forest, and across the fascinating Howlock Meadows pumice plain.Howlock Mountain Loop

Howlock Meadows is a vast pumice plan, with Mt. Thielsen’s spire in the background.

From several vantage points along the trail, you’ll have views of Mt. Thielsen’s jagged pinnacle.  And Howlock Mountain itself is an impressive sight.Howlock Mountain Loop

Mt. Thielsen from the Howlock Mountain Loop.

When you reach the intersection of the Pacific Crest Trail and the Howlock Mountain Trail, turn right off the PCT and ride up into the trees.  In a short distance, you’ll come out in the meadow at the foot of Howlock Mountain.  Since you’re riding off the trail here, please don’t ride single file.  Spread out so that everyone in your party goes a slightly different way, so you don’t create a trail to the meadow.  And if the meadow is wet, keep your horses in the trees so they don’t damage the fragile meadow vegetation.Howlock Mountain Loop

Part of the Howlock Mountain Loop runs on the Pacific Crest Trail.

The Howlock Mountain Loop is just one of several fabulous rides you can do from Howlock Mountain Trailhead.  Don’t miss this place!

Overnight Camping

Howlock Mountain Trailhead has two campsites with hitching rails, a large paved parking area, a vault toilet, and no water or corrals.  If you choose, you can rent a corral (with water) for your horse at the adjacent Diamond Lake Corrals, the rental-horse concession for Diamond Lake Resort.  Reservations for the corrals are required.Howlock Mountain Loop

Tex enjoys the accommodations at Diamond Lake Corrals, next to the trailhead.

Getting There

From Roseburg, take Hwy. 138 east for 79 miles. Turn right on Diamond Lake Loop and drive 0.1 mile, then turn left into the Howlock Mountain Trailhead, next to the Diamond Lake rental-horse corrals.  From Medford, take Hwy. 62 (Crater Lake Hwy.) northeast for 54 miles, then veer left on Hwy. 230.  In 24 miles, turn left on Hwy. 138.  In another 4.3 miles, turn left on Diamond Lake Loop.  The horse camp is on the left in 0.1 mile.

Learn More

You’ll find more information about the Howlock Mountain Loop and other trails out of the Howlock Mountain Trailhead in Riding Southern Oregon Horse Trails, by Kim McCarrel, (Ponderosa Press, 2017), available at

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