TUMALO MOUNTAIN – Great for everyone
Hello everyone San here,
A lot of my adventures are in the central part of the Cascade Mountains of Oregon. I live near that area so these hikes are easy for me to get to for a day hike. This hike is no different, but it is in an area that is very popular to many recreational enthusiasts and many sporting events occur in the area year round. The most popular of these events is the Pole Pedal Paddle event.
Just where is Tumalo Mountain?
Tumalo Mountain sits right in the middle of the majestic Sisters Mountains and Mt. Bachelor. It is often over looked as a mountain and just considered a butte by many but the elevation of Tumalo Mountain says that it is near nine thousand feet high and that is a mountain. Tumalo Mountain has much to offer with an amazing view of the South and Middle Sisters Mountains with Broken Top in the foreground and on a clear day you can see most of the Central Oregon Cascade Mountains from the summit.
HOW DO YOU GET THERE?
The Tumalo Mountain is easy to find as it is directly across from Mt. Bachelor on the Cascade Lakes Hwy about fifteen miles out of Bend, Oregon. To get there take the Colorado Street Exit off of Hwy 97 heading south through the city of Bend. If you are heading North you will take the same exit. Turn heading west on Colorado and then follow the signs that will take you out to Mt. Bachelor.
A beautiful drive!
Be sure to enjoy the scenery along the way has the Cascade Lakes Hwy is very picturesque any time of the year. Mt. Bachelor will loom above you as you drive up the Hwy and you will come directly to its base. Find the Dutchmans Flat Parking area and park there for this hike. The trail head is at the far west end of the parking lot and is obscured from sight until you are almost right on top of it.
The parking lot at Dutchmans Flat is a pay to park and you must have a forest service pass to park in the summer time and a snow park pass for parking in the winter. They are different permits and you must have the correct permit for the time of year that it is. This is because during the summer the parking lot and surrounding areas are maintained by the National Forest Service. During the winter and snowy months it is maintained by the State of Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. You can get either permit at most of the equipment rental stores along the Highway closer in to town. There is also a pay drop box at the trailhead for single day parking.
Getting started was the easy part
My group and I chose of chilly morning in October to take this journey together up the steep slope of Tumalo Mountain. Most of the group is new to hiking and have not been to the top of any mountains so we decided to take it slow as the trail starts up right away and has no flat areas until reach the top two plus miles later.
Tumalo Mountain will challenge you
The first mile of the trail is not that steep but it is a steady climb and has lots of shaded areas so hiking this trail in the summer would be nice as you can get out of the sun when
you want to take a break. You will be hiking up the South side of the mountain so shade in the summer is important. The old growth trees of the area are magnificent and every so often you get a glimpse of Mt. Bachelor in the skyline behind you. It is a strenuous hike if you are not in very good shape so I took plenty of breathing breaks along the way.
The steep part
The next mile of the trail however is not so hiker friendly as it steepens sharply and the trees begin to thin out. I wish I had thinned out a little before I went up there but, I made it, I was huffing and puffing but I was there. Once you get above six thousand feet elevation the air begins to change and you can really feel it if you are not ready for it. The trees at this level are shorter, more sparse and do not provide much cover.
Climbing the trees
There are a lot of dead trees laying on the ground and some are still standing. My friends
found them easy to climb and the pictures on this page and in the gallery will show you how much fun that is. Make sure to
test the branches before putting your weight on them, remember to always be safe out in the wilderness.
I have this one friend that climbs everything she sees. She is an inspiration to all of us and she gets a lot of the group to follow her. It is quite entertaining to watch her figure out how to get up on a pile of rocks or a specific branch of a tree. She makes it look easy, but I know that if I tried to follow her it would end in disaster.
THE TRAIL FLATTENS OUT WHEN YOU GET CLOSE TO THE SUMMIT
After our break to climb the trees and take some pics we continued up the last few hundred feet of the trail. As we ascend the trail it flattens out and you can walk easily to the summit.
Once on the summit follow the trail around the rim and enjoy the view of BEING ON TOP OF MOUNTAIN. (Yeah, once we got there my friends realized they had just scaled a mountain and were excited to be there.)
CHECKING OUT THE ROCK PILES FOR TREASURE
My good friend June began to check out the rock piles in the area and found a geo-cache that contained a gift certificate for an exclusive online hiking supply website. Also in the cache was a water bottle and water proof cell phone case. After his find June was like a little boy who had found a new toy, showing us all the things he had found in the rock pile.
As usual June being the generous person that he is gave all of it away to the rest of the group. But now every time we go hiking he is always kicking over rock piles to see if he can find another treasure. So check out the piled up rocks, never know what you might find.
NEVER WANTING TO LEAVE – THE VIEW IS THAT AWESOME
The view from the summit of the mountain is breath taking. I have never seen this part of the Cascade Mountains from this vantage point. On such a bright and sunny day we were not in a hurry to leave. From the west side of the summit you can see the South Sister, Middle Sister and Broken Top Mountains stretch up from Dutchman’s Flat. To the South
there is a great view of Mt. Bachelor. You can see the outline of the ski runs and the lift equipment that is on the side of the runs. To the North and East you will see the vast forested area of the High Desert region of Oregon. It is a beautiful place and if you never have been I recommend that you go there at least once in your lifetime.
TAKE A BREAK, EAT SOME SNACKS AND ENJOY THE VIEW
We had packed some snacks with us so we sat down and enjoyed a nice meal while enjoying the view. The company of friends on the trail makes the hike just that more enjoyable. Then the picture taking began and as you can see we really enjoyed ourselves. Gotta have pics to remember the moments that matter most.
When we finally decided to return back down the trail we had been on the summit for more than three hours and we still did not want to leave. The walk back down the trail was quicker and easier than the slow pace to the summit. We made it down in about forty five minutes in sharp contrast to the two and a half ours that the climb took us. (A lot of that was stopping to catch our breath by using the excuse of taking pictures LOL)
YEAR ROUND USE
The trail going up Tumalo Mountain is also accessible in the winter to snowshoeing and cross country skiing, (that could be a bit scary on the down). We went there to snowshoe later on in the year. The snow was not that deep yet but we had fun learning to use our snowshoes. I have another page on my experiences snowshoeing the area, it was not pretty LOL but I still enjoy being out there.
RATING THE TRAIL
The trail is rated as moderate to hard depending on your age, skill and conditioning. For me I rate it moderately hard, mostly because I am out of shape and had a hard time breathing. Never the less I enjoyed the hike immensely and recommend it to all.
Take snacks and plenty of water, it will take the wind out of you if you are not in shape but it is a good work out and doesn’t take long to go up and down if you are limited on time.
SHARE YOUR ADVENTURES WITH ME
Do you have an adventure that you would like to share? Leave me a comment, post a link, I would love to read about. You don’t have a place to post it? Leave me a note and I will get back to you about what we can do to get it out there for you.
Here is the link for the Tumalo Mountain Gallery
I look forward to hearing from you.
Thanks for stopping by hope to see you out there,
The Fat Guy