Sometimes a plan just comes together. That sums up a recent impromptu hike up Mt. Bachelor one sunny Sunday afternoon. Our group consisted of a group of close friends, all longtime Bendites. The idea of hiking up Mt. Bachelor to close out the weekend in late July came though the group chat, and a few hours later, the six of us met up at the West Village base area ready for a chatty hike up the mountain.
The great thing about hiking Mt. Bachelor is that there’s no advanced planning required. You can simply show up and hike. There are two well marked trailheads originating from the West Village base area, which is at 6,390-foot altitude. One trail heads out toward the quiet Cloudchaser terrain, away from the busy mountain bike park and operating lifts, while the other begins climbing straight away under the Pine Marten lift. We opted for the distant trail. We began by walking past the Main Lodge, following signs under the Little Pine lift. Both trails are just under 3 miles to the upper Pine Marten Lodge at an elevation of 7,800, which was our destination. You can also hike all the way to the 9,065-foot summit, where you’ll be rewarded with stunning 360 views. But we were less ambitious. Our goal was to make it to the lodge in time to enjoy the sunset and then take advantage of Mt. Bachelor’s free lift rides back down the Pine Marten chairlift.
We set off at 5:00 pm at a leisurely pace. The trail heads off into the woods slowly gaining elevation on the single track. You dip in and out of the forest, crossing ski trails featuring familiar looking terrain features like Dilly Dally Alley and the treed peaks and valleys of Cloudchaser (for those Mt. Bachelor skiers). The winter signage is still up, so you can track your location as you go, or bring along a summertime map available for free in the base area. Mt. Bachelor is home to several species of evergreen trees, including Mountain Hemlock, Lodgepole, and White Bark Pines, while wildflowers and grass fill the meadows.
As we gained elevation, we took in the expansive views of the forested buttes surrounding Mt. Bachelor to the east, and eventually the summit towering in the distance. There’s a clear path from our trail to break off and make a bid for the summit, we veer right instead and follow the magical light of the setting sun along the service road to the lodge. The hike takes just about an hour and a half. We arrived at the lodge with plenty of time to order drinks at the second-floor bar, where diners for the Sunset dinner are just arriving for the 7:00 seating. The bar offers a small menu of appetizers as well as excellent mixed drinks, plus local brews and wine. Scapolo’s Bistro on the lower level of the lodge is also open from 11:00 am – 4:00 pm.
With drinks in hand, we adjourn to the open tables on the wraparound deck of the lodge, where we’re able to fully take in the incredible views of the Three Sisters peaks, Broken Top and the Cascade Lakes as the sun sets in the distance. The sunset is spectacular, and we stay for the full show. The temps drop along with the sun, and we’re glad to have packed extra layers for the ride back down the lift as the last light disappears behind the mountains.
If You Go:
- Pine Marten lift access is available, conditions permitting, from July 1–September 5, 2022, with operating hours from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 pm, Monday–Wednesday and until 7:00 pm Thursday – Sunday. The resort reduces operations to Thursday – Sunday beginning September 6.
- Hikers should consider weather conditions before hiking, pack extra layers as temperatures will quickly drop as you gain altitude. Be aware of the effects of the altitude, take plenty of breaks to catch your breath and stay hydrated as this hike starts at 6,390-feet.
- Be prepared for heat with sunscreen, a hat and plenty of water. Find your full list of Ten Essentials, plus lots more tips on how to Take Care Out There when you’re out adventuring. Remember your face covering, too.
- Stay on the trail for your safety and to protect the landscape. If you need to step off the trail temporarily to allow for safe passing by other hikers, tread lightly.
- No matter where you’re exploring, be vigilant about potential sources of fire, especially when conditions are hot, dry or windy. “Any ignition source in the middle of summer makes it really difficult for us land managers to keep people safe,” says George. No fire — even inside a ring at a campground — should ever be left unattended until it’s cold out.