4 - 5
FATMAP difficulty grade
If you want to escape the crowds of hikers on Mt.
Scott and Garfield Peak, head to Union Peak instead.
While you won't be able to see Crater Lake itself from the top of Union Peak, you will enjoy views "of the Crater Lake rim and beyond - south to the Klamath Basin and Mount McLoughlin and farther south to California’s Mount Shasta," according to [OregonHikers.org](https://www.oregonhikers.org/field_guide/Union_Peak_Hike). The hike begins by following the Pacific Crest Trail for about 2.9 miles to a turn off toward Union Peak.
From here, the trail slowly begins to climb more consistently, eventually breaking out of the trees onto a rocky switchbacked trail leading to the very summit of Union Peak.
Most of the elevation gain is found in the last two miles of the climb to the summit.
As the steepness of the trail increases, the trail tread gets progressively rockier until the final summit push. The final push is quite rocky and technical and requires the use of hands to scramble up the boulders to reach the summit.
Some sources recommend bringing gloves for clambering up the sharp volcanic rock.
While most of the hike is largely non-technical, the final pitch to the summit earns this hike a "Severe" FATMAP rating.
However, the actual perception of the difficulty depends on the hiker.
Experienced mountaineers will trot up Union Peak with narry a care in the world.
You must evaluate for yourself whether you're comfortable with the rock moves and exposure found on Union Peak.
Don't be afraid to turn around if you're uncertain of your footing. After soaking in the impressive views from the summit, retrace your steps back to the car. Sources: https://www.oregonhikers.org/field_guide/Union_Peak_Hike http://www.craterlakeinstitute.com/what-to-do/planning-your-visit/hiking/trails-index/union-peak-trail/ https://www.shareoregon.com/things-to-do/en/listings/126303-hike-union-peak-crater-lake-national-park