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North Crater Trailhead

As its name suggests, North Crater Trailhead is on the northern edge of Crater Lake National Park.  From the Trailhead, you can ride north on the Pacific Crest Trail into the beautiful Mt. Thielsen Wilderness.  You can go south into Crater Lake National Park on the PCT.  Or you can follow other trails for an easy loop ride to Diamond Lake.  Camping is allowed at the trailhead.North Crater Trailhead

On the PCT in the Mt. Thielsen Wilderness.

Difficulty:  Easy to Moderate

Distance:  50+ miles of trail available

Elevation:  5,900 feet

The Riding

From North Crater Trailhead, you can take a fabulous 12.5-mile ride north on the PCT to a panoramic viewpoint on the flank of Mt. Thielsen.  You’ll see the Crater Lake Rim to the south, Mt. Bailey and Diamond Lake to the west, and Howlock Mountain, Cowhorn Mountain, Diamond Peak, and the Three Sisters to the north.North Crater Trailhead

You’ll have a panoramic view from the PCT on the shoulder of Mt. Thielsen.

You can ride south on the PCT into Crater Lake National Park.  However, the PCT doesn’t go anywhere near Crater Lake, and horses aren’t allowed on the hiker trail goes to the lake. Despite this, you’ll have a pleasant jaunt through the park’s lodgepole and hemlock forest on a trail with almost no elevation gain.North Crater Trailhead

On the Pacific Crest Trail in Crater Lake National Park.

You can do an easy 11.5-mile loop ride to Diamond Lake, following a single-track trail one way and an OHV road the other.  At the lake, be sure to stop for lunch at South Shore Pizza, which has excellent food.North Crater Trailhead

Riders canter along the OHV trail that leads to Diamond Lake.

The Camping

At North Crater Trailhead, you’ll find two campsites with roadside parking for 2-3 trailers.  The trailhead has a vault toilet, garbage can, picnic tables, and fire rings.  You’ll need to bring your own water and either highline your horse or bring a portable corral.North Crater Trailhead

North Crater Trailhead has picnic tables and a toilet, but no corrals or water.

Getting There

North Crater Trailhead is 87 miles east of Roseburg and 81 miles northeast of Medford, off Hwy. 138 near the north entrance to Crater Lake National Park.

Learn More

You’ll find more information about this trail in Riding Southern Oregon Horse Trails, by Kim McCarrel, (Ponderosa Press, 2014), available at

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