Little Belknap Crater via PCT

HARD 11 reviews
#22 of 93 trails in

Little Belknap Crater via PCT is a 5.4 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Sisters, Oregon that features a cave and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from June until October.

5.4 miles 1197 feet Out & Back



nature trips






no dogs

3 months ago

Highly recommend this hike! It's fun going through the lava bed area and up to little belknap. Great 360 views and if your feeling up to it afterwards head over to big belknap for an even better view. We camped in the Mckenzie pass area for a week and this was by far my favorite hike.

5 months ago

Nice hike Great view from the top no shade after the first three-quarter mile so recommend starting early on sunny days. got to talk with a few PCT hikers can't wait to go back and do Belknap mountain or Black Butte both are taller

6 months ago

Wear strong shoes and have your sunblock ready

7 months ago

This hike is worth the 360 degree view at the summit of Little Belknap. That being said, plan to make this a day hike because walking across all that rocky lava is pretty tiring, especially on the decent.

1 year ago

Great hike. I love to take my out of town visitors on this.

1 year ago

In case you are still uncertain after reading the other reviews: wear good shows (ankles support), no dogs/pets, sunscreen and hat. It is probably not a good idea to try and venture off trail in the lava flow (I did it once for a photo opportunity); a small stumble or a hand-grip to stabilize yourself can be a reminder of how unforgiving lava rocks can be.

The beginning of the trail is deceiving as the trail weaves it's way around two forested "islands" in the middle of the lava flow. Soon enough it is ALL lava all the way to the top (a bit over 2 miles). For such a short hike, the views from the top are absolutely worth every ankle-twisting step it takes to get there. Nothing stops the views to the East and the North.

I went to Little Belknap as a side-trip when hiking the portion of the PCT between McKenzie pass and Santiam pass (the track I posted therefore shows much more mileage that it takes just to go round-trip to the Little Belknap crater.

2 years ago

GREAT trail, we ended at the Dee Wright Observatory which is quite a pit-stop. Don't recommend bring the pup. Do bring a good and sturdy pair of shoes and a hat and sunblock, especially if it will be sunny/hot.

2 years ago

Great views! Do NOT take your dogs! Their paws will give out on their way back (terrain is too harsh). You may have to carry your dog back. We did. Wear good shoes too! It is totally worth it to get to the top. Don't give up.

3 years ago

really interesting hike. a lot different from a forest or alpine hike. bring sun screen, there is no shade. and watch your step, it's easy to get tripped up on the loose lava rocks

5 years ago

What a great little hike thru ancient pyroclastic flows! Indeed wear good shoes and no dogs but otherwise the trail is outstanding! The hike starts by skirting two forested "islands" before making the frontal assault. Near the top there are some very cool lava tubes to explore.. We did not do the optional hike over to the top of Belknap Crater the view from the Little was just fine. Excellent views of Three Finger Jack, Mt. Jefferson, Mt Washington, Black Butte, Black Crater, North Sister, Middle Sister, Little Brother. There was a dozen or so other people but we had the summit to ourselves. Ran into an old boss from HP on the way down small world!

6 years ago

Wear good shoes and don't take the dogs, too hard on their paws. But a fun and pretty hike. With some cool little caves at the top.