The third hike of our vacation was another repeat (this time only partially) of a viewless outing. In 2012 we had embarked on “the hike that shall not be named” (post) It was an ambitious hike that went wrong in a couple of ways. First I misunderstood the guidebook and turned a 15 mile loop into an 18.6 trudge and second the persistent low cloud layer denied us of virtually any views. Our plan to hike to Four-In-One Cone would cover part of that hike.
We chose the Four-In-One Cone portion of that hike for two reasons. First Four-In-One Cone is a really cool volcanic feature and second much of the remainder of that loop passes through the Obsidian Limited Entry Area for which we didn’t have a permit nor were any available. We started the hike at the Scott Trailhead located along Highway 242 (17 miles from Highway 126 or 20.3 miles from Highway 20).
The Scott Trail briefly follows along the highway before crossing it and entering the Three Sisters Wilderness.
A third of a mile from trailhead we came to a somewhat familiar junction.
Neither of us quite remembered it looking like it did now (for one thing the trail sign was missing) but the right hand fork led to the Obsidian Trailhead and had marked the final .6 miles of THAT hike. We forked left and began to climb via several switchbacks which we had no recollection of. We also passed a viewpoint at one of the switchbacks.
After the viewpoint the trail continued to climb but more gradually as it passed through a mixed forest.
A very blurry deer spotted through the trees.
Three miles from the trailhead we arrived at the first of two short lava flow crossings. A large western toad was in the trail here and there was also a squirrel nearby which seemed like a suspicious combination.
The lava crossings are separated by an island of forest that escaped the flow.
More spies watching us.
Beyond the second lava crossing we spent a little time back in the forest before once again entering a volcanic landscape as we came around the south side of Four-In-One Cone.
Unlike our previous visit the Cascade Mountains were visible.
North and Middle Sister behind the Little Brother.
Mt. Jefferson beyond Four-In-One Cone
Mt. Hood over the right shoulder of Mt. Jefferson.
Mt. Washington’s spire behind the cone with Three Fingered Jack and Mt. Jefferson.
The route up Four-In-One Cone is just under 1.5 miles from the first lava crossing and is marked by a signpost.
Before going up the cone we decided to continue another .8 miles to the Pacific Crest Trail in Scott Meadow. We had of course been to that junction during our loop in 2012 but we’d also visited it in 2013 from the north on the PCT from South Matthieu Lake (post). Lupine is said to bloom profusely from mid-July through August but we hadn’t seen much in 2013 (2012 was late September) so we thought we’d give it another try. Prior to reaching Scott Meadow we did pass a couple of hillsides with a decent amount of lupine but I don’t know that we considered it profuse
There wasn’t any lupine at all around the PCT junction but the view of Little Brother next to the North and Middle Sisters is nice.
After a short break and pointing a group of trail runners toward Opie Dilldock along the PCT we turned around and headed back for Four-In-One Cone.
Four-In-One Cone is just that, four cinder cones which erupted at different times but are joined together creating a .4 mile long ridge.
To the SE the North and Middle Sister are closer than the Cascades to the NW the position of the Sun made the view of the further peaks a little clearer.
North Sister, Middle Sisters behind Little Brother and The Husband.
North Sister with Collier Cone in front and South Sister behind Little Brother.
Scott Mountain (post) beyond the lava flows of Four-In-One Cone.
One of the craters.
After visiting the southern end of the cones we made our way to the northern end.
Mt. Washington, Three Fingered Jack, Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Hood, and Black Crater (post)
Looking back south.
Belknap Crater (post)
Mt. Washington beyond Little Belknap Crater with Three Fingered Jack behind.
Mt. Jefferson and Mt. Hood
After fully exploring the cones we returned the way we’d come capping off a 12.3 mile, 1750′ elevation gain hike. We were happy to have finally gotten to see what we’d missed back in 2012. Happy Trails!
Flickr: Four-In-One Cone