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U.S. Forest Service

Pacific Northwest Region Viewing Area


View of Mt. Thielsen from the Pacific Crest Trail. Mt. Thielsen as viewed from the Pacific Crest Trail. Photo by Richard Helliwell.

Jacob's ladder. Jacob's ladder (Polemonium pulcherrimum). Photo by Richard Helliwell.

Partridge flower. Partridge flower (Luetkea pectinata). Photo by Richard Helliwell.

Mt. Thielsen Wilderness Area

Forest: Umpqua National Forest

District: Diamond Lake Ranger District

Description: At 9,182 ft., Mt. Thielsen is the highest point on the Umpqua National Forest. It rises conspicuously along the crest of the Cascade Mountains to an apiculate peak. For this reason, it is sometimes known as the “lightning rod of the Cascades”. At timberline the forest of mountain hemlock (Tsuga mertensiana) recedes into small bands of whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) along the ridges that fall away sharply into open scree fields. The upper slopes and summit are steep, treeless and rocky with persistent snow only on the north face. August is generally the best month to view alpine wildflowers including: Western pasqueflower (Anemone occidentalis), dirty socks(Eriogonum pyrolifolium), partridge flower (Luetkea pectinata), Newberry’s knotweed (Polygonum newberryi), and Jacob’s ladder (Polemonium pulcherrimum). You may see pale pink-flowered hybrids of rose mountain heather (Phyllodoce empetriformis) and white mountain heather (P. glanduliflora).

Safety First: This is a strenuous climb. Hiking boots and plenty of water are essential. There are no trail markers above timberline and the final 200 ft. ascent is a difficult hand-over-hand climb so climbing ropes are advised for safety if you wish to go to the summit. A hat and sunscreen are also advised.

Directions: The Mt. Thielsen trailhead is near Diamond Lake on the north side of Highway 138, 1.5 miles north of the Highway 230 junction. The five mile trail (#1456) follows up the west flank of Mt. Thielsen. It climbs from 5,400 ft. to 9,182 ft. Timberline is about 7,200 ft.

Ownership and Management: U.S. Forest Service, Umpqua National Forest, Diamond Lake Ranger District.

Closest Town: Union Creek, Oregon.