Day hiking from Diamond Lake

The original plan and permit for August’s super blue moon was to backpack in Three Sisters Wilderness, but fire smoke suggested a different idea. Campground reservations were easy at Thielsen View campground, surprisingly. The fire smoke was supposed to be better further south than Sisters, and Crater Lake, Mt Thielsen and Mt Bailey are all very easy from Diamond Lake – this would be the third year camping at the lake – 1x Broken Arrow and 2x Thielsen View. If you want easy access to Crater Lake – Broken Arrow is better but more modern, louder and not as ‘pretty’ as Thielsen View.

Day 1 – Arrive Crater Lake

Ok, so that forecast about less smoke was not that accurate … I arrived at North Entrance around 9:00, and drove on to the Red Cone PCT trailhead. That section from Hwy 138 SOBO on PCT to Red Cone is boring and not worth redoing imho.

Red Cone put me ~3 miles from ‘the Rim’. Once on the Rim, I walked as far as The Watchman, but the smoke was not different.

After hiking back to the car (around 12 miles), it was a short 20 minute drive to Diamond Lake for the night – but the smoke was there as well. Mt Thielsen in the background is hardly visible.

Weather for the next day was to be worse with high wind, clouds and possible smoke… Thielsen Creek and PCT was the plan and perfect for that weather.

Thielsen Creek and PCT

Thielsen Creek doesn’t have a dedicated trailhead but Howlack Trail (Diamond Lake Horse Corrals) – US FS has Howlack Trail closed, and beyond the Thielsen Creek junction it is closed! Thielsen Creek and Timothy Meadows are just magical; how they survived the fires just boggles my mind.

But, the weather was miserable. Cold, windy and very wet oddly … some blue sky broke but it didn’t stay. This section around Thielsen is not easy and there were few humans out – mostly PCT hikers.

After ~20 miles of hiking, back at campground, the weather broke and the Mt Thielsen (where I was earlier) was visible – the air almost normal.

Mt Bailey

Wednesday’s weather was to be the best – sunny and little smoke / haze.

Mt Bailey is a ‘mini south sister’ for an easy 8,000 elevation walk up, and the summit is a surprise. I started from Silent Creek Th (and the name is perfect!) up to the summit and then back down – didn’t see 1 human the entire trip.

Looking out from Mt Bailey was the pot of gold …

After the 12 miles roughly, I was back to the car by 11:00 … clear skies, some wind and little smoke … what to do

Crater Lake #2

Good weather and an entire afternoon seemed like perfect for another Crater Lake Rim hike, but this time I started right at the Rim to avoid walking up. I re-did the Watchman and walked around the west side until tired … and then turned around.

Perfect Crater Lake day – left photo is Mt Bailey on left and Mt Thielsen on right. The right photo is …

While cleaning up after arriving back at the car, a tour group arrived to look at this one tree – “The Grandmother”. The guide explained that the tree is 700-1000 years old.

Super blue moon

Back at campground everything was set for the super blue moon. Below is the moonrise that night, the next morning’s moon set was even better – but terrible photos.

Mt Thielsen Trail

With just the morning for another hike and not wanting to drive out of way, Mt Thielsen trail straight up was the ticket. The morning was cold around 40, and the smoke was back in the valley. For the entire time, 2 PCT hikers flying a drone (why they carried a drone from Mexico is a good question).

Hiking Geeks

Over the 4 days, 3 nights just a bit over 60 miles hiked. Standard day hiking gear kit.

  • Day 1 – Red Cone to Rim (Track) 12.8 mile
  • Day 2 – Thielsen Creek (Track) 20.7 miles
  • Day 3 – Mt Bailey (Track) 11.8 miles
  • Day 3 – Crater Lake Rim only (Track) 7.8 miles
  • Day 4 – Mt Thielsen Trail (Track) 7.7 miles

Tracks recorded last two years. 2022 July 4 backpacking PCT, 2023 August 29 day hiking Diamond and Crater lakes

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