Great glaciers carved Diamond Peak after volcanic activity created the mountain. Today, at 8,744 feet, it surpasses every other summit in this region of the Cascade Mountains. Diamond Peak Wilderness, which straddles the crest of the Cascades, rests largely beneath a dense forest of mountain hemlock, lodgepole and western pine, and silver, noble, and other true firs. Snowfields remain most of the year in pockets above the tree line, and dozens of small lakes, one to 28 acres in size, bejewel the high country. Pikas and marmots scurry about the numerous scree slopes, along with Roosevelt elk, at least until November snows drive them out. Stinging hordes of mosquitoes hatch from the first of July through much of August. Excluded from Wilderness designation but on the eastern and southern boundaries you'll find three large scenic lakes: Summit, Crescent, and Odell. Approximately 14 miles of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail pass through the area and near Diamond Peak itself, and another 38 miles of trails give access to many lovely lakeside campsites. Mountain climbers scaling Diamond Peak's nontechnical summit often set up base camps at Marie Lake, Divide Lake, and Rockpile Lake. Much of this area is worthy of off-trail exploration.

I hiked the Sawtooth Mountain trail in early September.
The route I chose is a loop starting on Indigo Trail, then Sawtooth Mountain trail to reach the climbers trail via the south ridge. Once at the top, I decided to go for a scramble of the north ridge to try and intersect the Windy Pass trail. From there, I did succeed but route finding and strain on old legs made this section a small challenge. From there I descended to Indigo Lake and walked the trail that goes around the lake. Finally, I returned to Timpanogas Lake via the Indigo Lake trail. All said, about 10 miles.

The lakes (Timpanogas, Indigo), the scramble up the south summit and true summit, the views from the summit, and the cool/shaded forested sections make this trail a small gem. Combine the hiking with some camping, backpacking, fishing, etc and you get more for your footsteps. There are also several route variants, including a traverse from Sawtooth Mountain to Cowhorn Mountain.

If you follow the Sawtooth Mountain trail, it is good to know that you will be climbing two ridges (at 2 miles and 3 miles) before getting to the use trail at the 4 miles mark or so. These two climbs are fairly steep... mostly because switchbacks appear to not have yet been invented when the trail was cut.. it goes almost straight up and ahead.

The scrambles to the south summit and the true summit are neither technically very difficult nor very long. However, there is exposure on the sides of the summits ridge and good footwear, good attention and caution are necessary. The summit itself has major exposure on the east side;

In season, bugs are likely an obstacle to prepare for; there are two lakes to go by and a few wet/marshy area not far.The summit ridge is, of course, exposes to the run; you may want to carry sunscreen.

18 days ago

Fairly steady climb great peaceful lake.

Great trail! The mosquitos are bad!! Bring bug spray for sure, but the lake is worth the drive and hike. The driving directions from the app took us the "short" way which had us taking a washed out road. Came out much easier way but it took longer. Well worth it a must do ever year.

hiking
Saturday, September 05, 2015

A very beautiful hike. It's uphill most of the way in. The trail switch backs up hill through an alpine forest. We hiked in late August and there were no mosquito's or water in the creeks. The lake is just picturesque. It was a little over an hour to hike in and another 35 min. to walk around the lake. We drove from Eugene to Hills Creek Reservoir to Lake Timpanogas. We drove a small sedan and had no trouble getting there. The road around Hills Creek is very curvy and took 2.15 hours to get there.

hiking
Saturday, August 09, 2014

hiking
Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Highly recommend! Trails are well-maintained but still offer a challenge. Plenty of ponds and waterfalls to see along the way. Although, as a warning, don't forget mosquito repellent! They hassled me almost the entire way but it was worth it. Indigo Lake is beautiful and pristine. It offers secluded camp sites, often with a fire pit and table. The road up to the trailhead from Crescent Lake was rugged but almost as entertaining as the hike. Recommend 4-wheel drive and all-terrain tires if you choose this route. This was absolutely one of my favorite hikes!