Cowhorn Mountain…again

I recovered enough from last week’s strenuous hike to Grizzly Lake so I decided I should get my hiking muscles moving again with a dayhike. I tried Cowhorn mountain twice last year (here and here) but I never was able to summit due to deep snow.

In my head yesterday I was thinking, “It’s only September, so Cowhorn should be summitable still.” The reality of it is that it’s late September, which is pretty much October, so the snow has already started to hit the higher Cascades. If you go during a warm spell in the fall, you might be able to catch the mountains with few snow patches and be able to hike pretty far. If you go when it’s been cold, however, obstructions due to snow are basically a given. These are all things I should’ve thought about before choosing my gear yesterday.


Following footprints in the snow


Not the proper footgear for this much snow…and I had Yaktrax in the car!

Regardless of the slidy, slushy mess that resulted from wearing tennis shoes in snow, I was able to get closer to the summit than I ever have before. I could’ve tried to get to the top, but I like being alive. There’s always next summer.



The view from 2 miles in


Probably .2 miles away — as close as it gets when you have tennis shoes, an expensive camera, and a dog


Looking down over Crescent Lake toward Mt. Bachelor and the Sisters


Off in the distance, Mt. Thielsen on the left and Bailey in the middle


In total, 8.33 miles and 1800 elevation gain — just shy of the summit

2 thoughts on “Cowhorn Mountain…again

  1. Wow, we leave town for a few days and the Cascades fill with snow! I last did Cowhorn in October 2015, which was a drought year, so while is was cloudy, cold, and windy, there was no snow. That last scrambly bit to the summit would likely be tricky with snow & tennis shoes & a dog. I was thinking about doing it again this year, but after looking at your photos, I’m not so sure. Of course, we might have a snow-melting warm spell before “real” winter is upon us(?).


  2. Pingback: Cowhorn Mountain (Deschutes NF) 05-Oct-2017 | Boots on the Trail

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