When its namesake spire was blown off in a storm in 1911, this High Cascade peak was almost forgotten about and still is not very well known. But being the high point halfway between Mt. Thielsen and Diamond Peak, this rocky-topped peak has great views from Crater Lake to the Three Sisters. The summit has a Class 2/3 scramble after a mostly gentle hike along the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail.
The summit rises above treeline and is the erosion-resistant core of a stratovolcano. A red-cinder ridge leads to it from just off the PCT. Lakes dot the valleys and nearby Sawtooth Mountain is just a short hike away. The southeast face looks like it might have promising technical climbs but I’m sure if the rock quality was good enough for that, it would be known.
The main trail follows a ridge up from the south and has great viewpoints along the way of the summit. Once you get off the PCT though, it changes from a dusty wide path to a faint climbers trail along alternating crumbly and solid yellow, red and black volcanic rock. The summit is kind of small but nice enough to sit and enjoy the views. Cowhorn Mountain can also be accessed from the north via trails from Timpanogas Lake as well as Sawtooth Mountain. Combining Sawtooth and Cowhorn makes for a long day at about 20 miles roundtrip but is a great double-peak day.
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