Stock landscape and outdoor adventure photos from Oregon, Washington, and the Pacific Northwest

Photos from Central Oregon’s Broken Top Trail

For those of you who haven’t already visited Broken Top via the Broken Top Trail, shame on you!  It is stunning, has wonderfully varied terrain, and is right in your backyard if you are a Central Oregon resident.  It is truly one of the great alpine playgrounds in Oregon.  The Broken Top Trail starts high and offers a very mountainous experience with relatively little suffering.  Perhaps the most difficult part about this hike is actually driving there.  The famous forest service road number 370 is rugged, narrow and long.  It is no place for passenger cars and takes a good 25 minute drive beyond the Todd Lake trail head.  For a more detailed trail description of the Broken Top Trail, visit the following link.  Broken Top Trail

The following Photograph is the kind that keeps me re-visiting Broken Top year after year.  I captured this photo with my 4×5 camera two years ago and

Oregon wildflowers serve as a worthy foreground for Central Oregon's Broken Top Mountain

Oregon wildflowers serve as a worthy foreground for Central Oregon's Broken Top Mountain

the wildflowers were not as spectacular this year.  There were plenty of other worthy spots that I found along the Broken Top Trail this summer.  Because the flowers in Broken Top’s lower canyon were not optimal, I visited the upper crater, an arduous hike and caught the next two images.

Photograph of Broken Top's pinnacles from the upper crater at sunset

Photograph of Broken Top's pinnacles from the upper crater at sunset

This image and the next were both captured during an overnight backpacking trip I took with Debbie and Emma, who loved playing in the small streams that wind through Broken Top’s lower crater.  The following image is of Mt. Bachelor as seen from Broken Top’s upper crater at sunset.

Picture of Mt. Bachelor as seen at sunset from Broken Top's upper crater

Picture of Mt. Bachelor as seen at sunset from Broken Top's upper crater

The lunar landscape in Broken Top’s upper crater make it well worth the strenuous climb to get there.  Small streams emanating from the Crook glacier provide moisture for late blooming wildflowers.

Another favorite area along the Broken Top trail is “N0-Name Lake”  which is located on Broken Top’s Northern slope.  The lake holds ice bergs all summer and is a remarkable turquoise color.  The glacier made basin which holds the lake also has an interesting array of late blooming wildflowers such as the red Indian Paintbrush seen in the following image I recently captured at sunrise.

Alpine wildflowers near No Name Lake on the flanks of Broken Top Mountain

Alpine wildflowers near No Name Lake on the flanks of Broken Top Mountain

East of the location where I shot the above photo is the outflow stream for No-Name Lake.  Because of prominent wind patterns, this end of the lake often holds large ice bergs throughout the summer.  Below is a photograph of Broken Top’s pinnacles and the icy No-Name Lake as seen from that corner of the Lake.

Sunrise on Broken Top Mountain as seen from the icy No-Name Lake

Sunrise on Broken Top Mountain as seen from the icy No-Name Lake

The following images of Mt. Bachelor were also taken from along the Broken Top Trail and they are a strong testament to alpine change.  I’m consistently impressed by how quickly flower groupings change from one year to the next.  These two photos of Mt. Bachelor were taken from approximately the same location but two years apart.  Note the huge variation in flower varieties.

Photo/picture of Mt. Bachelor from the Broken Top Trail 2009

Photo/picture of Mt. Bachelor from the Broken Top Trail 2009

Photo/picture of Mt. Bachelor from the Broken Top Trail

Photo/picture of Mt. Bachelor from the Broken Top Trail

Regardless of whether you are a photographer or not, it is hard to argue with the belief that the Broken Top Trail area is an amazing area for exploration.  If you are a hiker,backpacker, or trail runner, you might be interested in the more detailed trail description found at the following link.  Broken Top Trail

Thanks For Visiting,

Mike Putnam

4 Responses Subscribe to comments


  1. Jewel Carmody

    Thanks for sharing, GREAT PHOTOS, ESPECIALLY Broken Top’s pinnacles and the icy No-Name Lake. THANKS AGAIN Jewel

    Sep 20, 2009 @ 11:17 am


  2. admin

    Jewel,
    It is great to hear from you! We’re thrilled to know you are still one of our visitors.
    Warm Regards,
    Mike Putnam

    Sep 21, 2009 @ 10:10 am


  3. India

    Really awesome photographs. You are really great. You should get in touch with the bizymoms Bend community to feature these on their page. The community would love it.

    Oct 22, 2009 @ 8:29 pm


  4. V Brown

    In 1986, I went with a group from the Oregon Plant Society to see the wildflowers on Mt. Broken Top. Evidently, we drove in on an irrigation road that is no longer accessible. What we saw was the back side of Broken Top and two GLACIERS that came in on the left and behind it. The wildflowers were beautiful and there was a meandering stream flowing through the lava. We ate lunch in a grassy meadow next to the 15 foot high glacier. There was a large stand of trees above us. My sister and I tried to find the road but to no avail. It’s not on any map. I sure would like to find out where I was and try to go there again. You could hike up past the stand of trees and climb up several ridges to get to the caldera of Broken Top. That was a great day that I’ll never forget!

    Nov 12, 2009 @ 3:06 pm

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