I did this hike after spending the first part of the day at Crater Lake, making for a pretty volcanic day. The views in the crater were quite fascinating. I could also see from Shasta to Jefferson. I camped on the north east shore of Paulina Lake and slept very well after this long day. I would like to go back and check out the rest of the volcanic monument more thoroughly, when I have more time to spare.
An hour up. Pleasant hike. Met a couple from New York on their honeymoon up top and talked to them for a while. Great views from Adams all the way down to Shasta.
Free climbed from the parking lot. Rico led (See pic).
I ran the hikers trail from the floor of the caldera near Paulina Lake to the summit in about 40 minutes. I didn't stay on the trail the whole way and bushwhacked whenever I felt I could save time. I was in a "race" with my wife who was biking the forest service road. There were portions of the road still covered in snow. We met at the top and enjoyed the sight of Hood, Jefferson and the Three Sisters in the distance. Plus the lakes below with their gnarled lava and obsidian shores made for a fantastic view. Fort Rock and the desert to the South and Southeast are unlike anything in the Cascades but they had to wait for another day. (You can reach Fort Rock by driving out over the Eastern edge of the crater's rim if you don't mind traveling 30 miles on a washboard road.) Anyway, the 360 degree view with its variety of landscapes makes this simple climb worthwhile.