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.
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Distance: 50+ miles of trail available
Elevation: 5,900 feet
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.
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.
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.
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 is 87 miles east of Roseburg and 81 miles northeast of Medford, off Hwy. 138 near the north entrance to Crater Lake National Park.
You’ll find more information about this trail in Riding Southern Oregon Horse Trails, by Kim McCarrel, (Ponderosa Press, 2014), available at www.nwhorsetrails.com.