This beautiful photo by Bob Bolton. Looking north from the summit of Maiden Peak, the Three Sisters and Mt. Bachelor dominate the view.
The above picture gives a bit of a feel why people climb Maiden Peak, it is a fantastic viewpoint. Maiden Peak is also the 29th most prominent peak in the state of Oregon but is relatively unknown even among Oregonians.
Another reason for being interested in Maiden Peak is the geologic history of the peak. Maiden Peak is a shield volcano made of basaltic andesite and is probably less than about 250,000 years old. (thanks to the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries for that little tidbit) The volcanic aspect of the Oregon Cascades is evident in every direction. You can't escape it no matter where you look. Dominating the view to the south is Diamond Peak and to the north the Three Sisters. HERE is an interesting list of the top 50 volcanic peaks of the Cascades and Maiden Pk comes in at #47.
A lookout once stood atop Maiden Peak but it was destroyed in 1958. Remnants of the lookout may still be seen when the snow is gone from the top of the peak. Nearby Odell Butte (to the east), still has an active manned lookout.
So where did the name Maiden Peak come from? Was this a place for Indian Maidens to visit while they readied themselves for marriage? Most likely not.
Now the first lookout on Maiden Peak was a single female and who knows, maybe the peak was named after this event. I have a book called "Fire Lookouts of the Northwest" by Ray Kresek and on page 68 is a picture of a young woman sighting through an alidade on a stump (a tent served as a cabin). Lots of interesting history associated with the lookouts that adorn or adorned so many of Oregon's peaks.
Getting ThereFor those coming from I-5, drive to Oakridge, get a bite to eat and fill up your tank. and continue east on Oregon Highway 58 for 21 miles towards the Willamette Pass Ski area. Before you get to the pass, look for a Sno Park area on the right side of the road and a sign for Gold Lake on the left. A dirt road takes off uphill and in about two miles you will find a small parking area off of the road that serves as the trailhead for Maiden Peak. Park here.
Map of area
Red TapeA northwest forest parking permit is required to park at the trailhead. Since this trailhead is pretty much undeveloped, the permit restriction may have been lifted since I was there. Inquire at the Ranger Station in Crescent Oregon
Crescent Ranger District
Phone: (541) 433-3200
PO Box 208
136471 Highway 97 North
Crescent, OR 97733
When To ClimbA great hike in the summer, this would make a reasonable snow shoe hike in the winter, after the snow has consolidated. My group hit snow at the 6500 foot mark on June 18th and although we didn't have much in the way of postholing to do, thanks to consolidated snow, there were still a few areas where we sank in up to our knees.
Dennis doing his best to enjoy the non view so it is best to climb when the sun is out so you can enjoy it.
CampingThere are quite a few campgrounds in the area. I'll research this out and place links as soon as I can find out this information that is more complete than
the listing below.
Princess Creek Campground (off of Highway 58)
Trapper Creek Campground (west side of Odell Lake)
Gold Lake Campground
Sunset Cove (near highway 58 and Odell Lake)
I car camped at the trailhead
Motels can be found in Oakridge, 23 miles from the Trailhead.
Mountain Conditions & Snowshoe HikingThe Willamette Pass ski area has information posted about the weather during the winter months. Click HERE to check for the link to the ski area. The weather report can be found HERE.
Shea Anderson in his book "Snowshoe routes - Oregon", feels that Maiden Peak is a really great snowshoe challenge, one that will test your endurance. He lists a route from the Willamette Pass Ski area that can take all of a day and covers 16 miles roundtrip and an elevation gain of 4800 feet. He recommends March for the earliest to do this and sometimes it'll still be there waiting as late as early June. See this book for full details if you are interested in doing a snowshoe trip and want one that is a definite challenge. (page 80 in his book)
Nearby weather reportsOakridge Oregon is to the west of Maiden Peak and is a good indicator of what the weather is doing.
Click HERE for Oakridge wx report