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Oregon Trails

Bend, OR: Mount Thielsen

This volcano has lured explorers for decades. Good reason too: The 8.8-miler mixes trails, routefinding, and hand-over-hand scrambling.

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Mt. Thielsen is a stratovolcano like many other Cascade peaks, but unlike most, Thielsen’s 9,184-foot summit has been fractured and eroded into a pointy horn of rock–with no crater–that makes for an exciting class 3-4 climb. It’s only 8.8 miles round-trip, but start early: You’ll climb 3,700 feet, and the peak’s not nicknamed “the lightning rod of the Cascades” for nothing. You’ll also do a bit of routefinding on the way to the summit: The Mt. Thielsen Trail fades after you cross the Pacific Crest Trail and you’ll pick your way up a talus slope by linking cairns. The last 100-plus feet is a non-technical scramble, but the most cautious hikers pack slings and climbing rope. On top, enjoy views of Diamond Lake, Mt. Bailey, and Mt. Mazama.

-Mapped by Trung Q. Le


Trail Facts

  • Distance: 7.1



Location: 43.146431, -122.1271973

Start early from the Mount Thielsen Trailhead: Thielsen’s nicknamed “the lightning rod of the Cascades,” so watch for storms. Ahead, hike through a corridor of lodgepoles.


Location: 43.144722, -122.1205826

Trail swings left and climbs to the northeast. In 0.7 mile, the path crosses Porcupine Creek drainage.


Location: 43.1564713, -122.1071014

Continue straight (northeast) on Mount Thielsen Trail @ 3-way junction with Spruce Ridge Trail.


Location: 43.1578712, -122.1006012

Trail switchbacks to the right. Today’s summit bid comes into view: The prominent horn of 9,184-foot Mount Thielsen.


Location: 43.1535759, -122.0875931

Trail zigs to the left, heading north.


Location: 43.1568794, -122.087532

Trail turns right, and begins ridgeline ascent.


Location: 43.1546356, -122.0828676

More views of Thielsen. Ahead: 2,000 feet of climbing to go.


Location: 43.1534146, -122.0807219

Go straight @ 4-way junction with the Pacific Crest Trail, and continue east-southeast up the ridgeline.


Location: 43.1514816, -122.0733032

Trail fades. Pick your route up the talus slope by linking cairns.


Location: 43.1526527, -122.0663147

Press on: The last 100-plus-feet require a moderately-challenging scramble; some hikers pack slings and climbing rope for the last stretch.


Location: 43.1527885, -122.0664203

On the horn-shaped summit, you’ll earn far-reaching views of Diamond Lake, Mounts Bailey and Mazama. Turn around and drop 3,700 feet back to the trailhead.

Rugged Terrain

Location: 43.1511917, -122.072053

Pinnacles and spires below the summit block.

Mount Thielsen

Location: 43.1566706, -122.0867729

Early morning view of Mount Thielsen’s summit block.

Sunrise on Mount Thielsen

Location: 43.1558253, -122.085228

Summit Block

Location: 43.1521623, -122.0673752

Looking up from the base of the summit block.

Summit View

Location: 43.1526554, -122.0662379

View of Crater Lake’s rim with a faint glimpse of Mt. Shasta in the distance.

Diamond Lake

Location: 43.1527885, -122.0663238

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