This is a spur trail off the main Pacific Crest Trail in the southwest corner of the park. See the
Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) page for a
description of PCT portion of the trail.
After departing the PCT trail, this trail very gradually moves through a lodgepole pine forest until becoming much steeper and moving through an open and rocky
switchback trail to the summit of Union Peak, it's last half mile. There are spectacular views from the summit, although, Crater Lake can not be seen.
Trailhead Location: The Union Peak trailhead (where the Union Peak trail intersects with the PCT) coordinates are given above, however, the Pacific Crest Trail portion,
from the north,
begins where the PCT intersects with Highway 62 at the Pacific Crest Trailhead, 1 mile (1.6 km) west of the Crater Lake road junction. The Pumice Flat trailhead access is on Hwy 62
just south of the turnout south of Pole Bridge Creek.
Nature Note: Union Peak is the core of an old volcano eroded by glaciers during the last Ice Age. It is the most
conspicuous feature in the southwestern portion of the park, its summit being 7698 feet above sea level and over 1000 feet above the general level of the adjacent area. The upper 800
feet of the peak stands as a rock spire above a ridge-like base which is the drainage divide between Union Creek to the north and Red Blanket Creek to the south, both streams being
tributaries of the Rogue River.
Seasonal Information: Expect the lower portions of the trail to be covered in snow from October to early July, however, conditions vary somewhat from
year to year. See Crater Lake
Current Conditions for more information. The top portion of the trail may be covered with snow until late July.
Historic Note: In 1853, the Nye party drew a crude map of the area as they moved around the rim and they called the lake simply
Blue Lake. Enroute to Jacksonville, Chauncey Nye and three others noticed a very rugged peak which they climbed and named Union Peak. A majority of the group favored the Union cause in
the Civil War and they hoped the name of this volcanic plug would never change. Following the usual slow route of travel to Jacksonville, Oregon, the Nye party reported their discovery
and on November 8, 1862, in the Oregon Sentinel, the first printed article about the Lake appeared. (Crater
Lake Discovery Centennial, Nature Notes From Crater Lake, Vol. 19, 1953)