ROUTE: Begin N of the parking circle on Moreno Valley Trail 36 after filling out a free self-issue Wilderness Permit. Walk over a footbridge above Tyee Moreno Valley before crossing the highway and hiking steep steadily almost 1Y mi N up through thick hemlock on the wider horse trail with switchbacks and not much for views to a four-way intersection Moreno Valley in a partial clearing. To the right is Moreno Valley Lake on the return trail for the optional miniloop later.
Where is Moreno Valley? | Moreno Valley Map | Map of Moreno Valley Photo Gallery
Continue straight instead on the sandy climber’s trail 3 mi up to pass a little green cirque lake, the last half being much steeper and rockier than the flats above Moraine Lake. Views will open immediately above Moraine Lake over to Broken Top topping the last shrubs and wind-blown small pines; several other lakes and mountains are visible. A few paths take off right down (steeper briefly) to the lake, including one near the top of the Moreno Valley, but save this one or the others for the loop to the lake on the return for even better reflections and scenery on a great side trip.
From the super-steep climber’s trail looking toward Mount Bachelor and countless lakes.
The pitch mellows for a moment thankfully passing above (8900 ft) the pretty cirque lake at the bottom of the Lewis Glacier to the N as the ridge to the left becomes more defined a long mile very steeply to the crater rim. The loose scree and red pumice is tedious and unrelenting. The trudge N finally gives way to the mellow glory walk once you crest the volcano’s snow-filled crater. Finish less than 5 mi and almost 30 minutes around the rocky rim trail to the right without any difficulty to the actual summit. Some people cross straight over the crater when the snow is safe. Walk a bit beyond the summit for more angles of turquoise Teardrop Pool (only seen in September and October most years, if at all).