It was a great sunny Easter day. Mountain was busy with skiers and boarders...
Hiking to the summit of Mount Bachelor seems to have gone out of vogue in recent years, but we're not divas: just because there's a chairlift to the top doesn't mean you shouldn't climb it. This accessible mountain boasts a short, punishing route up to a lofty 9,068' summit with spectacular views in every direction. Bag it and tag it folks, we highly recommend checking out Mount Bachelor.
The trail begins at Sunrise Lodge on the east side of Mount Bachelor. From the parking lot, angle towards the Sunrise Express Chairlift and begin climbing up Marshmallow Run. Keeping the lift to climber's left, Marshmallow Run separates from the lift line for 0.90 mile and reconnects uphill at the base of the Summit Express Chairlift. Once at the Summit Express Chairlift, position yourself so the lift is on climber's right and follow the lift line for about a mile to the upper chairlift station (1.90 miles from start). The climb is steep and exposed to the elements (timberline is 7,000') during this section, use caution and make wise decisions.
Continue past the Summit Chairlift upper station and find a bootpath heading north between two small berms – this is your final quarter-mile long push to the top. Arrive at the summit at 2.10 miles, 9,068' elevation. If you've got clear skies overhead, be prepared to enjoy an utterly spectacular 360-degree summit-viewing bonanza. Well-placed placards help with identifying the lakes and mountains that surround you in every direction, from Mount Shasta in California to Mount Adams in Washington State. Stunning. Soak it all up and head back the way you came. If snow conditions permit, you can certainly glissade the bowl, taking the middle saddle at the base to reconnect with the bottom of the Summit Chairlift (note: this is very steep and can be corniced, use caution).
Permits & Tips
No permits required to park or hike. Toilets available if lodge is open (West Village Lodge is just up the road and typically offers services during summer weekends). The upper mountain is not patrolled, so be sure to be self-sufficient: bring plenty of food, water, layers, sun protection (and sun glasses) for hiking on the snowfield. Trekking poles, ice axe, and boots are also highly recommended as the upper mountain is snow covered well into the summer. Make good decisions out there; 9,000' is still 9,000', even if there is a chairlift to the top.
And yes, the rumors are true: you can take a shortcut to the top by riding the Pine Marten Express Chairlift from West Village Lodge up to Pine Marten Lodge (7,775') and hiking from there, although this is a different route to the top than we've described in this write-up. The lift is open Friday–Sunday during the summer. More info and pricing at the Mount Bachelor Resort website.
How to get there
From Bend, Oregon, head east on SW Century Drive/Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway for 18.5 miles to Mount Bachelor Resort. Park at the Sunrise Lodge – if the spur road to the lodge is closed, park safely along the highway and walk in.