Mt. Thielsen

The Lightning Rod of the Cascades

With a prominent horn-shaped peak, Mt. Thielsen is hard to miss. Don’t be fooled by the shape though, Mt. Thielsen was formed from a shield volcano, which last erupted 250,000 years ago. The horn shape that we see today has developed from thousands of years of glacial erosion along the mountain. This peak is famous for its ability to attract lightning. During storms, the peak of this mountain is often struck by lightning and has been given the nickname “The Lightning Rod of the Cascades”.

Standing at 9,148 feet at the peak, Mt. Thielsen is a great place for various recreation activities. In fact, it is the only place outside of Crater Lake National Park that the waters of Crater Lake are visible. Hiking, backpacking, and fishing the high alpine lakes are available in the summer, while backcountry skiing and snowshoeing are available in the winter.  The climb to the top is not easy, and requires a lot of hand scrambling, but is rewarding.  To reach the summit of Mt. Thielsen, a relatively technical climb is required, but it is well worth it for the incredible view at the end. 

The South entrance point to Mt. Thielsen is located just 1 mile east of the North entrance to Crater Lake National Park, so there are plenty of different hikes available while in the area.

Another significant aspect of the Mt. Thielsen area is Miller Lake.  Little known to most, Miller Lake is home to some of the best brown trout fishing in the Cascade Range.  Miller Lake is unique in that it allows for 24 hour fishing, so it is possible to catch the fish when they are most active, night.    


Although there is already some Wilderness designation in the Mt. Thielsen area, there is much more that needs to be protected. Mt. Thielsen and its surrounding lands would be protected Wilderness as part of the Crater Lake Wilderness proposal. Sign the petition and make it known that you want to see the Lightning Rod of the Cascades permanently protected.

Alan Hirschmug and Rob Kelvins