Summit Diamond Peak

Rate this Adventure 9 miles 3600 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Michael Graw

Score an 8700-foot peak and take in huge views of the entire Oregon Cascades on this non-technical summit climb. 

At 8,743 feet, Diamond Peak is almost as tall as the other iconic volcanoes of the Oregon Cascades, but sees just a fraction of the people. Outside the range of casual Portland day hikes and hard to see from the highway and from other peaks, Diamond Peak and the spectacular wilderness surrounding it tend to pass under the radar.  But, thanks to its position just west of the Cascade range crest, this shield volcano boasts some of the best unimpeded views of the entire Oregon Cascades.

Best of all, the mountain is rugged enough to enable mountaineering-style climbs, yet gentle enough to not require technical skills.  It makes for an ideal backcountry ski destination in the winter and spring, while any hiker willing to slog uphill can tackle the peak in the summer and fall.

While the summit hike can easily be done in a day from the Corrigan Lake trailhead, it’s quite enjoyable to spend a night camping at Corrigan Lake.  The lake is only 1.2 miles from the trailhead, which makes it ideal for heading out to the mountains after work on a Friday and doing the summit on Saturday morning.  Corrigan Lake also has a nice view of the peak, so you can scout out conditions on the mountains before settling in for some stargazing.  

While the route-finding involved in this hike is nothing too advanced, most of the route is off-trail so good map, compass, and GPS skills are required. Additionally, if going in winter or spring, and ice axe is a must - even though the south-facing ridges that this route follows are often melted out by mid-May, coming down on the snow is (conditions permitting) a much faster and less injury-prone descent than down-climbing the loose rocks along the ridge. Finally, if going in the spring or early summer - bring enough DEET to wipe out a small jungle!

The Route:

Start out on the Corrigan Lake Trail, climbing gentle switchbacks from the trailhead for ~1.2 miles until you reach Corrigan Lake.  At this point, a sign will point you left towards Diamond Peak - you’ll continue left onto this trail, but first go straight a few yards to visit the lake.  If you’re planning on camping, there are a number of established campsites along the lakeside, and the view of Diamond Peak is pretty nice.

Once back on the trail, continue uphill past the lake and then turn right at the junction. Follow this trail for ~15 minutes, until you see what looks like a ridge in front of you (or, GPS coordinates N43 30.867 W122 10.891). Rather than continue towards the ridge, turn left off-trail and begin climbing.  There’s no set route here; you’re just working to gain the lower portion of Diamond Peak’s southwest ridge, so continue uphill following the path of least resistance for 30-90 minutes (depending on your speed and where you hit the ridge).  You’ll know when you get there, since the trees start to thin out and you can clearly see the route up the ridge towards the summit. From there, you’ll follow the southwest ridge up all the way to it’s top, just below the summit. In spring, the south side of the ridge is melted out and the scrambling is relatively easy, while on the north side deep snow remains well into June. Take your time and take in the amazing views to the south, crossing over to the left (north) to enter a col when you reach the top of the ridge. Follow the col down and then up to the false summit (watch for avalanche danger in this area in winter and early spring), finally completing the hike with a short push over the last 50 yards to the true summit.  Views on a clear day extend over the entire western Cascades, from Mount Hood to Mount McLoughlin, and east to the Ochoco Mountains.

To get down, follow the same route you took up - although if you have an ice axe glissading down the snow is a fast and fun option! For skiiers, there are tons of great lines extending down from the summit to the north, although you may have to work to regain and cross over the western ridge to get back to the Corrigan Lake drainage. If you have time, Corrigan Lake is pretty appealing as a swimming hole before you make it all the way back to the car.

Getting there:

From Oakridge, follow Highway 58 east for about 2 miles past the edge of town. Turn right on Kitson Springs Co. Rd, then right again in a half-mile onto Diamond Drive.  This is a very long and windy, but scenic and well-maintained road - continue for 29 miles. Turn left onto FS 2149 and drive for 4.5 miles until you reach a trailhead sign with a parking area on the left, just before a big turn in the road.  Don’t be fooled by signs for the Pioneer Gulch trailhead just before this that turn off to the right. 

Read More

Tags

Snowboarding
Camping
Skiing
Backpacking
Hiking
Forest
Lake
Scenic

Reviews

Have you done this adventure? Be the first to leave a review!

Stay Nearby

Crescent, Oregon

Timpanogas

Overview Timpanogas Shelter sits on shore of its namesake lake at an altitude of 5,300 feet in the Willamette National Forest within the Oregon Cascades Recreation Area. The cabin was patterned aft...

US Frst Service Road 439

Warner Mountain Lookout

Overview Warner Mountain Lookout is the winter wonderland destination for avid winter sports enthusiasts looking for a challenge. This replica of an old cupola-style lookout sits on a high vantage...

Crescent, Oregon

Trapper Creek Campground

Overview Trapper Creek Campground is located in the Crescent Ranger District of Deschutes National Forest. Heavily forested and situated on a small stream that feeds into Odell Lake, this campgro...

Crescent, Oregon

Whitefish Horse Camp

Overview In Deschutes National Forest, Whitefish Horse Campground offers visitors some of the most stunning scenery in central Oregon and easy access to an abundance of recreational activities in t...

Nearby Adventures

  • Ski or Snowshoe to Fuji Shelter

    This is a great and relatively easy winter overnight trip for cross-country skiiers and snowshoers alike into the crest of the Oregon Cascades. The route offers tremendous views of Diamond Peak, Willamette Pass, and the western Oregon Cascades. W...

    8 miles 1400 ft gain

  • Winter Backpack to Diamond View Lake

    Diamond View Lake is relatively unknown compared to many of the other lakes in the Oregon Cascades, yet the views it delivers of Diamond Peak are top-notch. While it can also be done as a summer backpack, winter brings out the best aspects of the...

    9.8 miles 1000 ft gain

  • Ski or Snowshoe to Midnight Lake

    The trip to Midnight Lake is a great way to spend a winter day and explore an otherwise overlooked lake in the central Oregon Cascades. Although the lake does see winter visitors, it is often  empty and very few people bother to hike to the far en...

    6.2 miles 600 ft gain

  • Hike to the Summit of Fuji Mountain

    Fuji Mountain has been known by mountain bikers for years, since it sits just off the circuit of popular biking routes around Waldo Lake and makes for a notoriously difficult climb on a bike. Word hasn't spread to the hiking community yet, despite...

    11 miles 2200 ft gain