Drive on Highway 242 to the McKenzie Pass area. Go 0.5 mile west of the Dee Wright Observatory and pull off at a parking area that is identified by a Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) marker (a triangular marker). This is the trailhead for Little Belknap Crater, a satellite peak of Belknap. To climb Belknap, however, you must follow the Little Belknap trail a ways.
Walk to the message board at the trailhead and head left (past the sign that says "Mount Washington Wilderness"). Follow the trail (the trail is faint at first). When you reach the 2.4-mile mark, there will be a trail junction. The Little Belknap Trail heads right, off the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), but follow the PCT a little while longer, until you get off the lava flow. Once the PCT is off the lava, head left by hiking cross-county. Once you are on the north side of Belknap Crater, ascend the north side (the most gentle side of the mountain). This final portion of the route is a cinder slog. Once on the summit, there are grand views of the North and Middle Sisters, and the rest of the McKenzie Pass area. Total one-way distance is 4 miles. Elevation gain is 1670 feet.
Water! It often gets very hot in the summer, and there are no water sources in the area (unless there is still some snow left over from the winter and spring). A map might be handy, too. The best map of the area is the Mount Washington Wilderness map, by the USFS.
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