Marie Lake and Diamond Peak

Marie Lake

  • Moderate (to both lakes)
  • 5.8 miles round trip
  • 1060 feet elevation gain
  • Open mid-July through October
  • Use: hikers, horses

  • Difficult (to high point of PCT)
  • 11.2 miles round trip
  • 2040 feet elevation gain

  • Very Difficult (to summit)
  • 12 miles round trip
  • 3750 feet elevation gain

Climbers heading up 8744-foot Diamond Peak often pause to rest at Marie and Rockpile Lakes, two sweet little pools separated by a meandering alpine meadow. Word has leaked out that the lakes themselves make a great destination, even for hikers with children. If you’d like a better look around, simply continue up the Pacific Crest Trail to its highest point on the bouldery shoulder of Diamond Peak. And if you’re still not satisfied with the view, why not climb the mountain? No technical skills or rock-climbing gear are required­—just lots of stamina and a knack for route finding.

Diamond Peak from meadow near the PCT

Hogback route to Diamond Peak summit

Start by driving . . .

Then backtrack 0.2 mile to the trail junction, continue straight 200 yards to a rock cairn, and detour 200 yards to the right to Rockpile Lake—small, but deep and green. Plenty of flat campsites are around to the left, on the lake’s far side. If you’re not yet ready to return to the car . . .

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