For an easy hike with interesting geological features, check out the Pinnacles Valley Trail - a flat 0.6 mile (one way) walk along the rim of a steep valley. It’s located in the southeast corner of Crater Lake National Park and features towering needle-like formations of rock called fossil fumaroles. The trail is wheelchair accessible and offers amazing views of the formations, especially around sunrise/set.
The Pinnacles are various shades of gray and brown, rising from the Sand Creek Canyon floor. They were formed under sheets of pumice before Mt. Mazama’s collapse, and are essentially ancient vents for volcanic steam and gas. Due to years of erosion, the Pinnacles now stand alone as a reminder of astounding geological activity.
The Pinnacles Valley Trail offers other sights – pine woods along the canyon rim, stretches of lush green vegetation and a stream down below. The accessibility and ease of the hike make it a popular spot. Weather permitting, it’s open year-round, with a peak season of mid-summer to early fall. Snows sometimes close the trail, so check ahead in winter months.
The trail is free, but access to Crater Lake National Park is $15 for a 7-day pass.