An easy introductory trail to a summit with big views. Not too long to be boring or too tough to be disheartening.
This trail enters the Mount Thielsen Wilderness and the usual federal wilderness area regulations and restrictions apply here. Practice Leave No Trace (LNT) backcountry skills and ethics. Camp 100 feet from fragile areas; bury human waste at least 200 feet from water, trails, and campsites. This trail is usually closed by snow between November and May.
Tipsoo is the Chinook word for "grass" or "hair". This peak is unique for two reasons: (1) it's an 8,000-foot peak that is reachable via a pretty short and nicely graded trail and (2) the treeline extends to within a few feet of its red cindery summit (elsewhere in the Cascades the treeline is usually between 6,000 and 7,000 feet).
Access to the trailhead is via Cinnamon Butte Road (Forest Road 4793) off of Highway 138. At 1.6 miles from the highway, Forest Road 4793 turns sharply left to climb to the lookout, while you continue straight ahead on Forest Road 4793-100. Continue on this gravel road for 3.6 miles to the trailhead. The last 0.5 miles is bumpy dirt but should be passable by a 2WD car. If not, park and hike up the road to the trailhead. There is a small sign marking the trailhead.
The #1472 starts up a series of wide switchbacks traversing through a forest of widely-spaced mountain hemlocks and true firs with little ground vegetation. After about a mile, the trail enters Mount Thielsen Wilderness. At about 2.5 miles from the trailhead, the trail breaks into more open ground with meadows and stunted trees, then climbs gently into open dry meadows. You'll have your first views of Mount Thielsen too south from here. The final 300 feet to the top is an easy second-class scramble along a narrow rocky ridge of dark maroon volcanic rock. Views from the top are spectacular and include Diamond Peak, Miller and Maidu Lakes, Mount Bailey, Howlock Mountain, Mount Thielsen, and other Cascade peaks to the north and south.
Adventurous hikers can make the short (0.3 mile) easy scramble down the southeast side of the peak to meet up with the PCT. From there it's a short hike to the highest point on the PCT in Oregon and Washington.
Shared By: Bruce Hope