Crescent Mountain (North and South) is the quintessential ride in the Old Cascade Crest (OCC) network of trails – it’s got it all. Old growth forests, creek crossings, huge alpine meadows and a summit spur with an incredible view of the Cascade Range (from the East). Oh – and climbing. Lots and lots of climbing! 2,500 feet of elevation gain in about four miles makes this a very tough climb. 30% grades are common and most people will walk some sections. It’s all ride-able, but it’s just a constant push once the tread turns upward.
This trail is really only a blue level of difficulty but the steep sections and trenched-out root sections make for a black rating.
Crescent Mountain North begins on the North along FS 572 where it intersects South Pyramid Creek Trail. After a short downhill jaunt to a creek crossing, the trail begins its earnest climb up through the old growth forest, where the trail has become a creek from yearly runoff and bad trail layout or a lack of drains. Notice the superb rock work at the creek crossing which replaced an old bridge. This will last forever. The root-laced trench of a trail goes for a ways and is the most tech you will see on this trail.
Climbing is steady and steep with a few short areas where you can level out and catch your breath (almost). In a couple of spots you can see the summit of Crescent Mountain looming ahead. Rhododendrons begin to surround you along this climb and soon you will make a quick descent to a road crossing. There’s a nice view as you turn this right corner toward the decent and pop out into a clear cut. Clear cuts suck (did you hear that Oregon Wild?) but they at least provide a view once in a while.
Climbing continues through some switchbacks and a long, fairly straight but brutally steep bench cut as you reach the upper rim of the mountain. The trail continues climbing up around the back side of the crescent shaped mountain and you will eventually come to the short spur that goes to the summit on your left.
Below the spur to the South begins the descent of Crescent Mountain (South).
Hit up Horse Creek Lodge & Outfitters if you need a guide or a shuttle to Crescent Mountain.