After the 2016/2017 winter we experienced in Central Oregon, we have anxiously been waiting to have access to the higher elevations of the Cascades. The record-breaking winter snowfall has kept the higher trails, lakes, and passes closed much longer than normal. However, today we were able to hike one of the first trails into the Central Oregon Cascades and made it up Tumalo Mountain.
Located just northeast of Mt. Bachelor, the Tumalo Mountain trail is a moderate up and back trek of 4 miles round trip with 1420 feet of elevation change during the hike. As you gain altitude, views of Mt. Bachelor and its ski runs and lifts become visible. Today it is obvious that it will take more time and warm weather before the hike up Mt. Bachelor will be able to be completed without crossing snow.
Further up the Tumalo Mountain hike we left the forest and entered sunny open areas where wildflowers were blooming and bees were at work. Dead and bent trees are scattered over the mountain and they offer habitat for insects and birds.
At the top of the mountain the views west toward Broken Top and South and Middle Sister are stunning. Sparks Lake is visible as are portions of the Cascade Lakes Highway.
Today the hike took roughly 2 hours, allowing for photo stops. As we were coming down, we met a good number of families, complete with dogs, starting the hike, and one bride with her "bride's babes." This is a great trail for people looking for a moderate, fairly short trek offering fabulous Cascade views.
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