Hiking Middle Pyramid in the Central Oregon Cascades

You don’t have to go to Egypt to see the Pyramids. That’s because the Three Pyramids, mountains created long ago by volcanic action, are in Oregon for the viewing and, at least in the case of the Middle Pyramid, for the climbing.

Reaching the Middle Pyramid is a pleasant hike, only a little more than 2 miles from the trailhead. But that’s a challenging 2-plus miles because mountaintops like the Middle Pyramid require some uphill hiking, in this case an elevation gain of nearly 1,800 feet.

Located in the Central Oregon Cascades, the Three Pyramids are a trio of volcanic plugs that are part of the Old Cascades. The Cascades are two mountain ranges in one. The better-known High Cascades mountains include such prominent 10,000- to 14,000-foot peaks as Shasta, Hood, Jefferson, Adams and Rainier. According to geologists, the Old Cascades, which form the foundation of the High Cascades, are older and lower, with many summits only 4,000 to 5,000 feet high. The Three Pyramids, with elevations of 5,690, 5,618 and 5,480 feet (from south to north), are part of the Old Cascades.

Even though the Middle Pyramid is not a dominant peak, you can still enjoy a wide-sweeping panorama from its summit that includes the Three Sisters, Mount Washington, Three Fingered Jack, Mount Jefferson and, if lucky, Mount Hood. The promised views from atop the Middle Pyramid are part of the trail’s allure but, the journey itself is also rewarding.

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