Crater Lake Mountain is a seldom visited summit found along the same ridge as Mount Si and Mount Teneriffe, in Washington State. Although located on the same ridge, Crater Lake Mountain is one of the most remote highpoints to summit. The peak was named after Crater Lake, an alpine lake found down a gully on the eastern side of the mountain.
The peak is often overlooked and underappreciated. Most hikers in the area do not know the peak's name, let alone its existence. Hidden by neighboring peaks such as Mount Si, Blowdown Mountain, and Dixie Peak, Crater Lake Mountain is regularly devoid of visitors.
As a result of underbrush growing thick on the peak during most of the year, Crater Lake Mountain is typically best traversed during winter months and other periods of snowcover. Summiting Crater Lake Mountain does not require a technical climb. Trees obstruct views to the west and north of the summit, but views are available to northeast, east, and southeast of the summit. However, due to a shorter elevation than neighboring peaks, summit views of nearby mountains are dominated by nearby Dixie Peak and Blowdown Mountain. On a clear day, Mount Rainier can be partially seen south of the summit.
There are two main options for reaching the Crater Lake Mountain summit, and both options end the same way:
For the first option, the "Fire Road" (Mount Teneriffe Road-Trail), originating at the "School Bus Turnaround" parking area, provides the most direct option for summiting Crater Lake Mountain. At approximately 4000' elevation along the "Fire Road", the road turns sharply north. Near this location, an abandoned logging road heads northwest, ending due south of the Blowdown Mountain summit at approximately 4420' elevation. Hike around the western side of Blowdown Mountain and turn north when the ridge between Blowdown Mountain and Crater Lake Mountain heads north. Ascend to the ridgetop and follow it, down and up and then down and up again, until the rocky summit of Crater Lake Mountain is attained.
Total distance from the "School Bus Turnaround" parking area to the Crater Lake Mountain summit is approximately 6.75 miles, one-way.
For the second option, from the Mount Si Trail, provides a shorter but more difficult option for summiting Crater Lake Mountain. Follow the Mount Si Trail to the Haystack Scramble. Continue following the trail heading east from the Haystack Scramble, for 0.5 miles (approximately 3900' elevation). Near this location, the trail begins descending (eventually intersecting the "Fire Road"). Shortly after heading downhill, turn to hiker's left (north), enter the dense forest, and follow the ridge northeast. Once the steep southwestern slope of Blowdown Mountain is reached, hike around the western side of Blowdown Mountain and turn north when the ridge between Blowdown Mountain and Crater Lake Mountain heads north. Ascend to the ridgetop and follow it, down and up and then down and up again, until the rocky summit of Crater Lake Mountain is attained.
Total distance from the Mount Si Trail parking area to the Crater Lake Mountain summit, is approximately 6.0 miles, one-way.
Getting ThereVIA FROM I-90:
Take Exit 32. Go north one mile where the road intersects North Bend Way. Make a left (west) on North Bend Way towards North Bend. After driving about a 1/4-mile, take a right on the Mount Si Road. From this road, use driving instructions for desired summit approach:
FOR "FIRE ROAD" APPROACH:
Take the Mount Si Road approximately 1 1/4 mile past the Mount Si trailhead (The New Trail) to the school bus turnaround area. On your left is a blocked fire road. Park here but make sure not to block entrance. Also make sure not to park here during school days until after 5:00 PM.
FOR MOUNT SI TRAIL APPROACH:
Park at the Mount Si Trail parking lot.
Red TapeBeginning during 2011, parking areas and trailheads within and for the Mount Si Natural Resources Conservation Area (NRCA) require a Discover Pass to be in each vehicle during the visit. Failure to have a Discover Pass visible within a parked vehicle at these locations can result in a substantial fine. For more information regarding the Discover Pass, please visit the official website.
Parking at the "School Bus Turnaround" area is not allowed on school days between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM.