Contributed by Charles Hipkin & Hilary Hipkin
Country: United States
Location: Central Oregon, Cascade Mountains
Round trip: 5km
Start elevation: 1,930m
Final Elevation: 2,763m
Maps: Mt. Bachelor, Broken Top (USGS 1: 24,000)
From Bend, go west for about 20 miles on Highway 46 (Cascade Lakes Highway) to the Mount Bachelor Ski Area. You may have to park at the side of the road outside the barrier. If so, walk up the paved road to Sunrise Lodge where the trail begins.
PARTIAL PLANT LIST
Dieteria canescens var. shastensis
Mt Bachelor is a singular, volcanic cone. Although principally a skiing venue, in summer it is quiet and offers a short but moderately strenuous hike that has a volcanic talus flora that is typical of the Central Oregon Cascades. The summit views are fabulous.
The trail clambers over volcanic scree and is moderately steep in places, but plant hunting and photography will break up this relatively short hike. Initially you will wind your way up through groves of Mountain Hemlock, where in open areas you will glimpse photogenic views of the Three Sisters and Broken Top Mountain. Above tree-line, spreading mats of lavender-purple flowering Penstemon davidsonii are very common among the volcanic cinder and the pristine white flowers of Anemone drummondii make a striking contrast against the charcoal black talus.
Castilleja arachnoidea, a paintbrush so typical of volcanic mountains in Northern California and Oregon, occurs here in different colour forms from yellow to dull red. Other common species you’ll encounter include Lupinus lepidus, Saxifraga tolmiei and the saxifrage-like Luetkea pectinata (a member of the rose family). As you approach the upper ski-station, the bright yellow composite flowers of Hulsea nana are outstanding. To reach the summit from here you have to scramble up a poorly defined trail. On top you will see mats of daisy-like Erigeron compositus, the distinctive Draba aureola and carpets of Polemonium pulcherrimum ssp. pulcherrimum.