Sawtooth Mountain

HARD 1 reviews
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Sawtooth Mountain is a 9.1 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Crescent, Oregon that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October.

DISTANCE
9.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2578 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

camping

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

bugs

scramble

Hike around the High Cascade basin located between Sawtooth and Cowhorn Mountains, with detours to the top of each peak and a scenic look at Indigo Lake. Start out hiking from Timpanogas campground up toward Indigo Lake. Two hundred feet before Indigo Lake, veer left to continue on the trail up to Windy Pass. But be sure to visit Indigo Lake and see the beautiful blue and pristine water. Continue up the switchbacks to Windy pass. At the crossroads, a right turn will lead you up to the summit of Sawtooth, a 3.6 mile roundtrip detour. But turn left and continue along the ridge traversing Sawtooth and Cowhorn for 2.1 miles. After climbing a short set of switchbacks you'll encounter an intersection. Left will allow you to continue around the basin, heading back to Timpanogas Lake. Going right will take you on the second detour to the summit of Cowhorn Mountain. Hike 0.3 miles to the PCT and turn right, going another 0.3 miles. Take a left up and scramble up to the peak of Cowhorn. The detour to Cowhorn is 2 miles roundtrip. Once you are back at the basin trail intersection, turn right and continue 2.7 miles down around the basin. After passing a small pond on your right, take a left and continue 1.1 miles back to the trailhead at Timpanogas Lake.

hiking
2 months ago

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.