PCT: Scott Trail to Obsidian Trail

This PCT section hike completes a good segment of the PCT (in my terms) from Devil’s Lake / Moraine Lake Trail to Mckenzie Pass, Hwy 242. The southern most section was completed last week with an ascent of S. Sister (part 1 | part 2). Last year, I hiked Scott Trail to Mckenzie Pass w/ hiking buddy.

I left home very early forgetting what it is like to drive up Highway 242 at night, yet arrived at the Scott trailhead before 06:00. It was so cold that I put on socks, shoes and packed my bag in the car – tho chose to hike in shorts albeit with long sleeve shirt. When I left trailhead, my car was the only one, and the sun remained below the ridge.

Trailhead to PCT – Scott Trail

Hiking up thru the 2-3 miles of forest before things open up was mostly in the shadows. Until it wasn’t. The sun broke thru over the shaggy bent tree forest and then a peek-a-boo look over the foothills as the sun hits.

After another short section of scrubby forest, the view opens up into lava and cinder … with a first look south to North Sister.

Now on the cinders and looking up at the cinder cone (climbed up it 2x before so passed today), I finally got warm and found the view striking both up at the cinder cone and outward over the cascade spine.

The hike to this point is all uphill but not over the top.

After winding thru scrubby pines, cinders and more lava flows (volcanic moraines in my non-geologist terms), the Scott / PCT junction meadow opens up.

Getting down to the meadow, I realized that in the shadows and the sun’s edge, frost remained.

PCT – Scott Trail to Obsidian Trail (Creek) and back

Views from this meadow are typical Sisters’ spectacular. Then climbing out of the meadow to the north, views again over the cascade spin show the remaining morning’s mist.

After this point, it’s all open lava and cinder with a few surprises until descending down to Obsidian.

Here’s the mordor-like lava and cinder world that seems to go on for ever

Surprises … scrambling up one canyon-like structure, brought me into a wonderful rock filled meadow with obsidian sprinkled around. A cooper’s hawk (very young) tried to catch the rodents I spooked along the way, but I never saw anything in talons.

There is a tough steep section through lava scree that goes down heading south – hardest section in either direction of the this hike.

The flowers were out in some stream beds and there were running streams

The best meadow was the last one … the springs of Obsidian Creek. It starts in this wonderful meadow (camping not advised, but a lunch without disrupting the ecosystem), and grows … best water on this trip.

At the junction of the PCT and Obsidian Trail, I turned around and repeated. I find looking at things from different directions can be helpful

Factoids from All Trails

  • Total miles – 22 miles
  • Elevation gain – 3,717 ft

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