The Mount Thielsen Trailhead / Sno-Park has a vault toilet and paved parking for 15+ vehicles. There is no water at this trailhead. This trailhead requires a fee of $5/vehicle/day from May 1 through October 31. Recreation Passes may be used as a form of fee payment during this time. Obtain your pass in advance, as on-site payment is not available. An Oregon State Sno-Park Parking Permit is required November 1 through April 30, whether there is snow or not.
This trail leads from the Mount Thielsen Trailhead (and Sno-Park) to the Mount Thielsen. Its primary use is as the approach route for a climb of Mount Thielsen. It can also be used to form a nice loop from the Howland Mountain Trailhead through Timothy Meadows to the PCT and back. This is a popular summer hike/climb and this trailhead can be busy on weekends and holidays.
From the trailhead, the #1456 through lodgepole pine for the first mile and reaches a junction with the Spruce Ridge Trail #1458
after 1.5 miles. An excellent view of Mt. Thielsen presents itself just beyond this trail junction. Past here, the trail turns briefly south then swings west below the west ridge of Point 6832. At 2.8 miles from the trailhead, it makes a brief turn to the north and then follows Thielsen's northwest ridge to a junction with the PCT at 3.6 miles. Up to this point, the #1456 has been an established trail with a clear and easy tread.
From the PCT, the #1456 proceeds up the ridge as an obvious scramble trail (this is a popular climb that sees a lot of use). Most of this portion of the #1456 is a steep hike up loose, dusty scree and small rocks - tedious but not difficult. There is some Class 2/3 scrambling just before you reach a small notch ("Chicken Ledge") about 80-feet below the actual summit of Thielsen. The views on the way up to this point are usually excellent and the notch makes a good goal for those not seeking the summit.
From the notch on the southeast side of the pinnacle, you can see the 80-foot climb/scramble up the south face to the summit. Wear on the rock in spots points the way to go but just pick the easiest way up. The start is right in the notch and you angle slightly left as you climb. There may be a of couple Class 4 moves with exposure but the rock is fairly solid and blocky (but always test your hand and footholds first!
). Most climbers don't protect this 80-foot section but whether you do so or not depends on your comfort/experience level. It's easy to rappell off the summit, so if you feel better protecting and rapping, do as a slip could mean injury or death. Also avoid getting too close to the right side of the south face, as the exposure over there is severe and the wind, which frequently whips across the ridge, can throw you off balance.