- North view from the Dee Wright Observatory of Belknap Crater, Little Belknap and Mount Washington on a calm morning in late September. On a more memorable occasion a friend and I hiked a short section of the PCT to have lunch inside the crater atop Little Belknap. Hiking the Skyline Trail south from 242, a tremendous west wind skimmed cloud from dense Willamette Valley fog, and sent it racing like a thin river across the great lava saddle between Mount Washington and the Three Sisters. Nestled 20-30’ inside the cone of Little Belknap, the last gasps of an eruption some 3,000 years ago can be seen solidified in time as they flowed down the crater walls. Having our sandwiches inside the crater of this 6,300 foot shield volcano, the air was calm and still, but just above its lava rim, the roar of a mountain gale and racing cloud drawn by a powerful pressure gradient across the volcanic arc which separates west and eastern Oregon. It always amazes me to have this rugged geology in our back yard!
Belknap Crater, Deschutes County, Deschutes National Forest, Highway 242, Lava, Mount Washington