Three Pyramids

Three Pyramids

Willamette National Forest

Difficulty: Moderate-Strenuous
Distance: 7 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,800 feet
Best time to go: June-July

About this Hike

Hike through the heart of the spectacular Old Cascades in the Middle Santiam watershed. Take in a spectacular old-growth forest, trailside and cliff-top wildflowers, alpine meadows, and—as a final reward—a mountaintop view as we explore one of the Cascades’ largest unprotected road-less areas surrounding the Three Pyramids.  Start the hike by crossing a small creek and turning right at a T-shaped trail junction. You will climb through a shady old-growth forest full of woodland wildflowers and along the creek. After about half a mile of steady climb cross the creek on stones and begin the climb through a brushy meadow full of bracken ferns, columbines and salmonberries. Here begins the steady climb up the ridge full of switchbacks and beautiful glimpses of the meadow below. As you climb you can admire the views of the cliff across the valley and beyond to the Three Sisters. Continue the climb and emerge onto a sunny hillside filled with beautiful wildflowers, here will be your first glimpses of Mt. Jefferson. The path winds around to the west face of the Middle Pyramid and then switchbacks up to a rocky saddle. You will come between the two summits of the Middle Pyramid, continue right on the trail about 100 yards to the lookout site surrounded atop the summit. You can see almost the entire trail you just hiked from this spot as well as Three Sisters, Three Fingered Jack, Mt. Jefferson and on an exceptionally clear day, Mt. Hood.

About the Area

Although not an official Roadless Area, Three Pyramids is part of an unroaded range that is more than 4,000 acres in size. Three Pyramids is located between the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness area and the Middle Santiam Wilderness area, but the lack of designated protected area surrounding the Three Pyramids has left the area open for timber sales. As part of the Old Cascades, the Three Pyramids is one of the most ecologically diverse forests.

Getting There

From Eugene: 

Take OR 126 east to Mckenzie River Hwy. Follow OR-126 for 68.2 miles. Take the slight right onto US- 20 E. Take the left on OR-22 W. Continue on OR-22 W for about 7.6 miles. Between milepost 76 and 77 turn left onto Lave Lake Meadow Road.

From Portland:

Take 1-5 S for 46.1 miles. Use the right two lanes to take exit 253 for OR-22/OR 99E toward Detroit Lake/Bend. Use the left two lanes to turn left onto OR 22 E/ North Santiam Hwy (there are signs for Detroit lake/Bend). Continue on OR-22 E for 72.5 miles. Between milepost 76 and 77 turn right onto Lave Lake Meadow Road. Follow Lave Lake Meadow Road for about 1.9 miles (ignore the 560 turn). Cross the Parks Creek Bridge, and turn right. Continue on the road for 3.5 miles, continue straight and do not turn on road 840 (which is just past the clear cut). Follow to the end of the road at the trailhead.

Photo by Chandra LeGue