Tumalo Mountain

  • Moderate
  • 3.6 miles round trip
  • 1200 feet elevation gain
  • Open mid-July to mid-October

Each summer thousands of tourists ride a chairlift high on the slopes of Mount Bachelor for a view of the Three Sisters. But you can hike up Tumalo Mountain in an hour and get virtually the same view for free. Even better, Tumalo Mountain has no unsightly chairlifts and no throngs of tourists. Drive . . . Tumalo Mountain and Mt. Bachelor are cinder cones—gigantic heaps of volcanic shrapnel. Though geologically fresh, they’re both old enough to have been bitten by glaciers. Mt. Bachelor is the least damaged; it must have been so smoothly conical before the Ice Age that snow had few places to compact into ice. Tumalo Mountain, on the other hand, probably had a crater that allowed snow to collect. Under the weight of ice, the crater became a glacial cirque, leading to the destruction of the cone’s entire northeast quarter.

At the trail’s 1-mile mark, views begin opening up …

This chapter is an excerpt from 100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Central Oregon Cascades.