Black Crater Trail is a 7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Sisters, Oregon that offers the chance to see wildlife and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

7.0 miles
2,355 feet
Out & Back

dog friendly



nature trips





Trail is re-opened. Please check Forest Service web site for the most up to date information on trail and road closures/changes.

1 month ago

Sad to see all of the burned out area, but if you stick it out to the top you will finally get to unburned area. Views from the top today were awesome. Actual up and back trail length is 7.2 miles.

1 month ago

I hiked this trail last summer, just a week before the fire. Really glad to have had the chance to hike through the forested areas and meadows before they burned.

It took me just over 90 minutes to reach the top. Many of the other reviews here have mentioned the amazing views at the summit. Yep, I agree, although the day I went up it was quite smokey. Mt. Washington, for example, was barely visible through the haze. I'd love to go up again on a clear day.

If you're reasonably fit and an experienced hiker, this isn't a difficult trail. Just as I was coming out to the parking lot, I saw a couple just getting ready to go up. It was already past noon, so they'd be hiking during the hottest part of the day. They were wearing light-duty sneakers and blue jeans and had just one small bottle of water for the two of them. For these hikers, the trail may have been difficult....

Just a minor correction on the trail info provided here: according to the info sheet provided by the Deschutes National Forest Ranger Station in Sisters, it's 8.6 miles roundtrip (or 13.8km for us Canadians) with an elevation gain of 2351 feet/716m.

2 months ago

The trail reopened recently after the Milli Fire in 2017, so we took the opportunity to hike it on Thursday. The trail itself was very defined, but a large portion of the forest is completely burned. Although an interesting sight to see, I was definitely more on edge worrying about snags I was eager to get past the fire damage. Unfortunately, it was hazy the day we went, so our views were very limited at the summit, but on a clear day this hike would be absolutely beautiful. There is something so cool about walking through the burned sections and seeing the wildflowers and nature growing back. We only passed one other person the entire hike. Make sure to bring sunscreen, as the tree cover is now gone. I had never hiked this trail before the fire, so I have nothing to compare it to.. but I think it is still worth doing now after the damage.

2 months ago

We did this hike on September 1 and the trail was open, albeit with a warning that snags could fall on your head. The bottom 75% of the trail is completely burned to charcoal and the trail, although obvious, is very dusty/ashy. Upside: It's marvelous seeing how small plants are already hard at work re-colonizing the ashes. Downside: The dirt is very fine and gets kicked up into a lingering cloud when hiking in a group. If you are sensitive to particulate matter you might want to bring a scarf or mask at least until the winter rains have gotten a chance to damp down the dust. However the view at the top is worth it if you can stand the slog! Clear views of Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Washington, Three-Fingered Jack, Mt. Hood, the Sisters, Broken Top, Little and Big Belknap craters, and some amazing lava flows. Great places to eat lunch with the views at the top.
We're a moderately in-shape group of mixed ages and it took us 4.5 hours round trip included multiple geology nerd breaks and lunch.

This trail is closed indefinitely due to heavy fire damage. Will update post when new trail is created

Friday, August 11, 2017

Challenging hike, totally worth it once you get to the top! It's only 4 miles up, but you are going at an incline pretty much the entire way. I did this on a Saturday afternoon and only saw 1 other group.

Monday, July 17, 2017

great rewards at summit cool shaded trail

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

This hike was AMAZING! This was my first small hike section of the PCT which was thrilling. You start the hike into Alpine woods, then get into the lava fairly quickly. The views start beautiful and only get better. Didn't go all the way to the top because my family had to tap out, but I did get a few fun pictures of sitting in snow in July. Fairly dusty!

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Hiked up on a sunny 80 degree day, medium shade most of the way. A few downed trees in the first mile or two. Last two miles still had snow. Brought Micro-spikes and poles (great for the descent in afternoon slush) and followed the dirty footprints in the snow up the trail and then straight up along the east edge a snowfield that lies to the west of the actual trail Incredible views of every cascade peak from Broken Top and Three Sisters to up to Mt Hhod (even the tip of Mt Adams) Bring optics if you have them, 10x42 enhanced the already stellar views. The summit was windy and clear of snow. Take the actual trail down til it becomes covered and it is easy to pick up the improvised route along the snowfield from there. Cheers!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Mostly trees and shade until the last 1/2 mile. Too steep to run down. Beautiful all around.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Shady trail opens up into beautiful view. Terrific summit with an excellent view of the Sisters

Sunday, September 04, 2016

I really enjoyed this hike! It is fairly uphill the entire way there so a decent challenge, but the trail is very evident so no fear of getting off route. I did this hike on my own and had a wonderful time. The summit is windy and cold so remember layers. Took me 2 1/2 hours total and I spent a good amount of time soaking in the view before heading back down.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Good hike with amazing views at the top. The hike isn't exceptionally beautiful (although still nice) but the 360 degree views at the top make this tough hike worth it. Took about an 2.5 hours round trip. I read some reviews that said there were a lot of trees across the's all clear now.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Final view feels like you are on top of the world

Monday, August 01, 2016

Incredibly beautiful, but definitely a challenging hike and a great workout!

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Great hike. I liked it so much that I went up Black Crater twice over a July 4th Holiday Break. The first trip I took my 8 year-old daughter and we made the trip in 4 1/2 hours. There was still snow at the top and we had to hike off the trail and find our way to the summit. I would wait, at least, until July to hike it with a beginner ( just too much snow). The view is amazing at the top.

Two days later, I reached the summit in just under an hour on a solo hike. It's definitely a strenuous hike but the views at the summit are spectacular. If you just need a good workout, it will not disappoint.

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Long steep climbs, re-warding view at the top.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

This was a cool hike. I went on a Sunday in late June and there weren't many people on the trail. You'll see a sign for the trailhead after you pass the viewpoint and it will be to your left. You don't need to pay a fee, you just have to fill out a self issued permit.

There are a lot of fallen trees on the trail in the beginning which was kind of annoying but fun at the same time. There was quite a bit of snow near the top, but you really don't need any snow gear. I hiked up in shorts with no trekking poles or anything. You just have to be really careful.

The views at the top are amazing. I got up there at about 5pm and I was the only person up there and the last person off of the mountain. Such an amazing experience being alone surrounded by such beauty! Just be sure to bring bug spray because I nearly got eaten alive.

I slid down on the snow part of the way back down but I lost the trail and kind of got lost for a while. It took about 2 hours to get to the summit and 2 hours to get back just because I lost time due to losing the trail. I would definitely consider doing this hike again.

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Best views on top I've seen so far in Oregon :)

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Excellent work out!

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Awesome trail

Sunday, August 02, 2015


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Did this trail last year and it is steep all the way but a good trail and well worth the effort at the top.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

My sister and I did this hike in July of last year. The views were superb throughout the entire trail. There were lots of fallen trees over the trgail, but the hike was well worth it. I would recommend this trail to anyone.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

I went up to black crater on a cloudy and windy August day. I had to play hide-and-seek with the low clouds to experience some of the amazing views; I was alone at the summit for about 45mn and could take shelter from the westerly winds in the alcoves both knolls provide at the top (assuming the direction of the wind is right :-) ). Waiting for breaks in the fast moving clouds to see North Sister reveal itself could have been frustrating; it turned out to be quite a magical experience instead. Now.. I would not mind going back on a bright and sunny day... and I will.
I started around 9AM and (as mentioned above) got the summit for myself until I started back down around noon, at which time a small crowd was forming at the top. All said and done, by the time I reached the parking lot, I had crossed path with an estimated 50 hikers going up.

Monday, August 25, 2014

I did this hike on a nice day in July. The trail wasn't too difficult, but look out for a lot of downed trees that make it a little harder to find the trail. Also, when we went there was a pretty good amount of snow, which made it difficult to stay on trail at the top.

Amazing views though! Totally recommend this.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

We did Black Crater on a beautiful late July day as part of a weekend trip to the Redmond area. The trail has superb views of line of central Cascade volcanoes, from Mount Hoot to the Three Sisters. Many old lava flows are clearly visible in the valley below, and Smith Rock, Bend, and Redmond are all seen to the East. While the trail is just over 7.5 miles long it feels longer due to the incline. We hike every weekend around the Seattle area so we had no real problems, other than cramped toes during the later half of the decent.
Overall a great trail in excellent condition well work a visit. Photos from the trip can be found on my blog at

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Black Crater has probably the best view of the Cascades nestled up near the north side of the North Sister - 3500 feet elevation gain in 3.5 miles you have to work to get there but it is worth it! Poor me for some reason I got bad blisters on my heels I guess because of the steepness but I improvised some "moleskin" out of my insoles and managed to make it! We did it in late July and there was still lots of snow on the ground but nothing really too difficult and on the way back it was lots of fun glasading! Snow and red rock and snow and blue sky and wind-blown was surreal! Excellent views of the North and South Sisters, Belknap Crater, Three Finger Jack, Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Washington and even Mt Hood. A few other hikers but not too busy. I've included a youtube link to some video I shot, it is a bit shakey but I think you get the idea what it is like up there on a nice summer day!

15 days ago

27 days ago

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