Mt. Scott / Crater Lake – Oregon
“Let the cracks between things widen until they are no longer cracks but the new places for things.” The Zone by Colson Whitehead
Why This Mountain?
Tami selected this mountain as a homage to the book Wild by Cheryl Strayed. In the book, Cheryl detours to see Crater Lake and it’s a significant moment for her towards the end of her PCT hike. Mt. Scott is the highest peak at Crater Lake and has beautiful views of the lake.
Mountain & Route Facts
Mount Scott is a small stratovolcano and a so-called parasitic cone on the southeast flank of Crater Lake in southern Oregon. It is approximately 420,000 years old. Its summit is the highest point within Crater Lake National Park, and the tenth highest peak in the Oregon Cascades. The mountain is named for Oregon pioneer Levi Scott, founder of Scottsburg, Oregon.
The hike to Mt. Scott is a straight forward trail. You park at the Mt. Scott Trailhead on Rim Drive. The round trip hike out and back is about 4.5 miles with an elevation gain of approximately 1,3500′. A small fire lookout tower stands on the summit. Panoramic views of Crater Lake can be seen from the summit. Mount Thielsen, Diamond Peak, Mount McLoughlin, Mount Shasta, Upper Klamath Lake, and Diamond Lake are other landmarks that can be seen from the summit.
Historical and Cultural Information
Crater Lake is a caldera lake in the western United States, located in south-central Oregon. It is the main feature of Crater Lake National Park and is famous for its deep blue color and water clarity. The lake partly fills a nearly 2,148-foot deep caldera that was formed around 7,700 years ago by the collapse of the volcano Mount Mazama. There are no rivers flowing into or out of the lake; the evaporation is compensated for by rain and snowfall at a rate such that the total amount of water is replaced every 250 years. With a depth of 1,949 feet the lake is the deepest in the United States. In the world, it ranks tenth for maximum depth, and third for mean (average) depth.
Crater Lake is also known for the “Old Man of the Lake”, a full-sized tree which is now a stump that has been bobbing vertically in the lake for over a century. The low temperature of the water has slowed the decomposition of the wood, hence the longevity of the bobbing tree.
Two islands are in Crater Lake: Wizard Island, formed from a cinder cone that erupted after Crater Lake began to fill with water, and the smaller Phantom Ship, which has seven trees living on it.
The Klamath tribe of Native Americans, whose ancestors may have witnessed the collapse of Mount Mazama and the formation of Crater Lake, have long regarded the lake as a sacred site. Their legends tell of a battle between the sky god Skell and the god of the underworld Llao. Mount Mazama was destroyed in the battle, creating Crater Lake, called giiwas in the Klamath language. The Klamath people used Crater Lake in vision quests, which often involved climbing the caldera walls and other dangerous tasks. Those who were successful in such quests were often regarded as having more spiritual powers. The tribe still holds Crater Lake in high regard as a spiritual site.
Oregon is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It’s capital is Salem and it’s largest city is Portland. Oregon was inhabited by many indigenous tribes before Western traders, explorers, and settlers arrived. An autonomous government was formed in the Oregon Country in 1843, the Oregon Territory was created in 1848, and Oregon became the 33rd state on February 14, 1859. The highest point in Oregon is Mt. Hood.