Scott Mountain Loop Trail is a 9.1 mile out and back trail located near Blue River, Oregon that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible year-round.
Directions from McKenzie Bridge: Drive east on Hwy. #126 about 4.5 miles to the McKenzie Pass, Hwy. #242. Travel about 17 miles on Hwy. #242 to Scott Trailhead.
I chose a 14+ miles route starting with Scott Trail, then turning South on the PCT and then returning on the Glacial Way + Obsidian trails. The starting point was the Frog Camp Parking area just off OR 242.
The Scott Trail section gains about 1500 ft in 4.5 miles which makes for a nice warm-up. The first 3 miles are through fairly dense forest with the occasional meadows and leads to the crossing of the first lava flow. The lava flow is rather wide but the trail, although it cuts through the lava in a few points, mostly follows the lava wall using ‘untouched islands’ of vegetation. At about 4.5 miles, the trail exits the flow just South of Four-in-One cone. This is also where the view open all around and the trail levels off a bit. For another mile, the trail slowing ascends North-East until it t-bones into the PCT at the edge of a large meadow. A good spot for a quick rest or snack, looking at North Sister.
The first 1.5 miles on the PCT lead to the highest point on the route, just at the base of Collier Cone (also the halfway point of the route a 7+ miles). Initially, the trail is what you would expect from the PCT: nicely cut and maintained trail, reasonable grades. Eventually, though, it has to cut through the lava flow again and that makes for the typical ankle-busting proposal as it goes on for a little while, including a pretty impressive series of short switchbacks cut into a steep lava wall.
The following section on the PCT (about 2.5 miles) starts by following the west side of the lava flow before veering South-West, offering a few good resting/snacking sites and a more shaded path. This section ends at the crossing of Glacier Creek which provides a good source for replenishing your water supply if you have the right equipment. The junction with the Glacier Way trail is just a few hundred feet past the creek crossing.
The Glacier Way trail descends steadily for about 1 mile, hugging the West side of the creek for a while before rejoining the Obsidian trail at the foot of the last lava flow of the day. After crossing that lava flow (.5 mile), the Obsidian trail slowly descends back to Frog Camp for the last 3 miles, offering the welcome shade of a constant canopy.
Don’t forget to get a permit for entering the restricted access Obsidian Area.
Started at trail head to Scott Trail, located off of Hwy 242 at turn off to Scott Lake. Hiked to Four In One Cone and back. Beautiful hike, fair amount of elevation gain, varied terrain. Hike through meadows, forest and large lava field. Hike distance about 12 miles.
Camped at Paradise campground off of Hwy 126. About 30 minute drive to trailhead.
Scott Trail to PCT. Then southward on the PCT to Rainbow Falls. Onto Obsidian Trail back to the car. Fantastic hike. Be sure to get the necessary permit to hike thru the Obsidian trail area (phone ahead to the McKenzie Ranger Station to reserve a permit). Done this hike twice, the second time getting caught in a rain/snow storm.
Scott trail to the PCT is a moderate 3 mile hike - thru lava flow, past 4 in 1 Cone. Turning northward on the PCT I continued toward Matthieu Lakes and Dee Wright Observatory. This was a very worthwhile hike. I then hiked out/back to Little Belknap Crater. I returned to the car via Highway 242 (really boring).