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A Weekend Hiking & Camping in the Central Cascades

Updated: Sep 16, 2021

08.27.21 - Leslie was out of town visiting her family in New York, so my friend, Trever and I headed down to the Oregon Cascades. We left after work hours on Friday and made a pitstop at Little Crater Lake, south of Mount Hood on the way down. It's a grueling 200 yard trek from the parking area, but we were able to make it. I had been wanting to visit this lake for a while!

Little Crater Lake

After that, we had about another 1.5-2 hours to where we planned on finding a campsite. The spot I had originally wanted was taken so we continued down the road a little longer and ended up on a gem of a spot with a golden view.

First Night's Campsite


08.28.21 - We woke up to the view above and wow - what a spot for sunrise! To my surprise, Trever is not a coffee drinker, so I got to drink all the coffee!

The plan for that day was to start off by hiking Mount Bachelor. We had about a 15 minute drive (through some rough terrain) and started from the Mount Bachelor ski area (lots & lots & lots of parking (& flush toilets!)). Per usual, this was time to make brekkie before getting started on the trail.

This one was nice. The hike was mostly exposed. It's a 6.5 mile RT that ascends 2,700'. It started out fairly gradual and got a little steeper as it went. The beginning takes you a little bit away from the mountain biker trails. Panorama views from the top!

A Couple Shots From The Trail

After the hike, we were going to try to find a lake to hang out at; ideally a place Trever could do some fly fishing. As I checked the map, we were going to drive through Sisters, OR. It is a sin to drive through Sisters without stopping at Sno Cap Drive In for a milkshake. The best milkshake I have had to date! I had not been here since 2017 and it did not disappoint.

Sno Cap Drive In

As we continued on, we ended up at a lake neither of us had been to yet, and it was pretty great! We went to Big Lake! Unfortunately, Trever didn't do any fishing, but the water wasn't quite cool enough to keep us out. We spent a couple hours at the lake, enjoying the water and the view before trying to find a campsite for night 2.

Big Lake

The search for a campsite wasn't as successful as the night before. To keep it short, I'll say we went on a lot of roads that we wouldn't have been able to access without my truck. It was fun exploring the roads, but we ended up with a pretty boring spot! No photos taken of said spot.


08.29.21 - Early to rise yet again and we had a very short drive. This days hike was to Santiam Lake. This hike started from the Santiam Pass Trailhead and is 11.5 miles RT with a 1,400' gain. The elevation gain was very gradual and was spread out through the entire hike (on the way out and the way back). There were fantastic alpine views along the entire hike with the ability to see Three Fingered Jack and Mount Washington throughout. The views from the lake were fantastic and Trever was able to do some fishing (and catch 2 fish).

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