The ride to Mt. Thielsen from the North Crater Trailhead is spectacular! You’ll ride through beautiful forest and along a ridge with an amazing view of Mt. Thielsen. And the vistas from the 7,400-foot shoulder of Mt. Thielsen are breathtaking. Don’t miss it!
Distance: 12.5 miles round trip
Elevation: 5,900 to 7,400 feet
You’ll start at North Crater Trailhead, located just off Hwy. 138 near the north entrance to Crater Lake National Park. Head north on the North Crater Trail, and in 0.3 mile it will take you to the PCT. Turn left on the PCT, and you’re on your way.
For the first several miles, the trail runs through open lodgepole forest. Then, as you gain elevation, the lodgepoles give way to old-growth hemlocks and firs, with shade so dense that almost nothing grows beneath the forest canopy.
At one point, the trail traverses an open ridge that offers a unique view of Mt. Thielsen (pronounced TEEL-son).
Then you’ll reach the junction with the Mt. Thielsen Trail, on a high shoulder of the mountain. From here, you can see the Crater Lake Rim to the south, Mt. Bailey and Diamond Lake to the west, and Howlock Mountain, Cowhorn Mountain, and The Three Sisters to the north. Stunning!
North Crater Trailhead
North Crater Trailhead has two campsites that allow horses. It offers easy roadside parking, a vault toilet, and garbage cans. You’ll need to bring your own stock water, and highline your horse or put up a portable corral.
Getting to North Crater Trailhead
From Roseburg: take Hwy. 138 east for 86 miles. In 0.6 mile after you pass the entrance to Crater Lake, turn left on Road 4799. From Medford: take Hwy. 62 (Crater Lake Hwy.) northeast for 54 miles, veer left on Hwy. 230, and in 24 miles turn right on Hwy. 138. After 3 miles you’ll pass the entrance to Crater Lake. In 0.6 mile after that, turn left on Road 4799. All: The trailhead is at the end of the road in 0.4 mile.
You’ll find more information about riding to Mt. Thielsen from the North Crater Trailhead in Riding Southern Oregon Horse Trails, by Kim McCarrel, (Ponderosa Press, 2017), available at www.nwhorsetrails.com.