The Wife and LeConte Crater

MODERATE 3 reviews

The Wife and LeConte Crater is a 10.9 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Klamath River, Oregon that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from July until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
10.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2057 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

rock climbing

trail running

walking

horseback riding

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

bugs

scramble

snow

off trail

hiking
4 months ago

I hiked and scrambled to The Wife and LeConte crater in mid August on an overcast day... and just before the trail got closed due to nearby forest fires (the trail was opened when I took off at 8:30 am but closed when I got back shortly after 3 pm).
I give 4 stars to this hike when I imagine the views on a sunny day. Even without the views it was a very enjoyable journey with a variety of terrains (from the usual wooded areas to the very unusual landscape of the Wickiup Plains to the amazing Rock Mesa flow and the scramble up the two high points).

Reaching both summits follows off-trail routes (the Wife scramble is well described in the "75 Scrambles in Oregon" book by Barbara Bond -- I got my inspiration from this book!). They are short ( a few hundred feet) but can be physically challenging when ascending/descending loose/scree-ish steep terrain (had a heavy pack that day).

The route I followed is 10+ miles and, if you are looking for a longer option, can be combined with a return via trail 17.1 (towards Moraine Lake) and 36 (lower section of the South Sister trail) .. or even go to Moraine lake.

The trails (when there is one) are very well maintained and not challenging: no heavy rocky section, no abundant roots, no very steep grades. The only "obstacle" are sections on the Wickiup Plains that are a tad sandy and can feel like a bit of a slog.

I had the chance to "meet" a deer standing watch at the edge of the wooded area leading to the South ridge of The Wife; it followed my - slow - progress across the Wickiup Plains and only took off when I got within 100 feet. Even better, I surprised a magnificent buck just as I crested LeConte crate; he too sauntered away from the unwelcome disheveled hiker.

I really liked the relative seclusion of this area, especially after I had a bit of trouble finding a parking spot (at 8:00am) in an area that can accommodate a LOT of cars (I had flashbacks to my previous "Saturday at the mall" experience climbing South Sister). The whole 7 hours on the trail, out and back, I only crossed path with 3 parties. Everyone else was apparently at the lake, on the South sister trail, or back-packing further out in the area.

hiking
4 months ago

Wednesday, September 28, 2016