Hike the Middle Pyramid
Oregon › Middle Pyramid Trailhead
Added by Zak Stone
- Distance: 4.2 miles roundtrip
- Elevation gain: 1,634 ft
- Short distance hike for huge reward
- Amazing 360 degree view
- Cascade mountain views
- Overnight camping
The Three Pyramids, half as tall as the better-known Three Sisters, are beautiful U-shaped glacial valleys, remnants of the Ice Age.
To reach the top of Middle Pyramid, leave from the #3380 trailhead at the west end of the parking area. Early on there is a creek crossing (the bridge was still washed out as of March 2015). At the fork in the trail, keep right. The trail gains steady elevation, with nice views of Park Creek along the way. As you move through the switchbacks closer to the creek, there are quite a few unnamed waterfalls. The forest has also many large Douglas furs, providing much needed shade.
The trail flattens out about a half mile in, followed by another creek crossing, and a small creek and bridge. At this point, you can see the glacier bowl between the South and Middle Pyramids.
In the summer, the trail becomes a dried run off bed, here, but in the spring it is a flowing creek that you can walk alongside. The trail then leads you through a meadow, with views of towering cliffs, above. This scenery is most beautiful in the morning, when the sun rises in the east.
The trail then returns to the cover of the forest, gaining steady ground through a series of switchbacks, and offering branch-framed views of 3 Fingered Jack. After significant elevation gain, you will reach an open ridge, where the trail moves west to the fork of the Middle Pyramid and North Pyramid (#4161) trails. Keep to the left to continue to the Middle Pyramid summit. In a few more switchbacks, you will reach the saddle of the summit, with an old fire lookout to the south. Climb through the rock peaks to relocate the trail.
After a final series of switchbacks, you will finally arrive at the summit. As you crest the top and see the Cascade mountains, you will be more than glad you stuck it out. The summit has a small, flat area for relaxing and enjoying the incredible view. To the east is Three Fingered Jack, and to the south of Jack are Hoodoo Ski Resort, Mt. Washington, and the Three Sisters. Mt. Jefferson and Mt. Hood are to the north, and on a clear day you can make out Mt. Adams, in Washington. In the direction of Mt. Hood, you can also see Coffin Mountain and Bachelor Mountain – two more destinations to add to your list!
Driving Directions: From Portland, take I-5 S to Highway 22 E (Santiam Highway exit 253 in Salem), and continue for 77 miles. Between mileposts 76 and 77 you will see a sign for Lava Lake Meadow Road 2067. After crossing a bridge, turn right at the sign for Pyramids Trail Road 560. Follow the signs to the end of the road, where there is a small gravel parking area.
From Bend, follow Santiam Highway for 48 miles to the same place between mileposts 76 and 77.
- Hiking boots
- Breathable clothing layers
- Extra shirt
- REI Flexlite Chair
- Sleeping pad
- Sleeping bag
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