Climbing Mount Scott for the Best Views of Crater Lake

Finally able to do the Mount Scott hike after a road closure the day before, we were excited to do the only hike to give climbers views of Crater Lake that would allow the lake to fit entirely within a camera lens.

The hike is a modest five-miles round trip and boasts an elevation gain of 1250 feet. This dusty dirt trail begins in a wooded area, which begins to incline gradually almost immediately. Hikers are then led up steeper switchbacks that offer fantastic views of Diamond Lake (where we camped outside the North Gate), farmland, and what I believe was the Pumice Desert.

The switchbacks are a bit unrelenting and we had to take a couple of quick breaks along the trail. I’d like to say it’s because we were just getting used to the high elevation thin air again, but it may have been from sitting lazily on the beach a few too many days in the month prior…

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A sneak peak of the top, if you can make out the little lookout house up top…

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The lake peaks out on occasion on the trail.

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The trail provides little exposure until the very end when the switchbacks bend around to face the lake and the dropoffs become steeper as the trail turns into a brief narrow ridgeline. I am still working through my fear of heights and exposure, so the completely exposed last few yards of the ridge were a little too much for me at the time, but lucky for me, the views were the essentially same from the area right before it (though maybe if they weren’t, I would have pushed myself more).

They really were gorgeous views though! The highest elevation in the park, at 8,929 feet, we could look down on the entire park and, in fact, did just perfectly fit the entire lake into a photo. πŸ™‚

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To be fair, the winds were really blowing us around up here, but for some reason this short ridge freaked me out at the time. Amazing and unfortunate how the mind can make safe things seem scary in the moment…

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I’d be remiss also if I didn’t include photos of Diamond Lake, the National Forest Service campground we stayed at for $16/night with no hookups 15 minutes outside of the North Gate of Crater Lake. Oh, and did I mention we survived our first overnight freezing temperature here?! I’ll be darned if we weren’t frozen by morning as we conserved battery by not running the heat, but since we were not hooked up to anything and it did warm up during the day, our tanks were just fine.

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8 thoughts on “Climbing Mount Scott for the Best Views of Crater Lake

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