In the lower elevation southeast corner of Crater Lake National Park, the Pinnacles are a group of volcanic pumice spires, colored various shades of grey and brown, formed by erosion along the south edge of the steep-sided canyon of Wheeler Creek, a tributary of the larger Sand Creek that begins beneath the southern slopes of Mount Scott, the park’s highest summit. Some cones are especially tall and graceful, dozens of feet tall and tapering very gradually to a sharp point – perhaps the narrowest erosional features in the West, certainly more slender than, for example the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon in Utah or the strange pillars of the Tent Rocks in New Mexico.
The pinnacles, also known as fossil fumaroles, are surrounded by a belt of vegetation-free earth, which contrasts greatly with the lush greenery all around; pine woods on the canyon rim, bushes and grass along the valley floor. They may be viewed from overlooks at the end of the access road and along the half mile Pinnacles Trail that follows the valley further downstream, soon exiting the national park and meeting a forest track. This is a very short hike, but popular going to the unusual geology.
These Formations are amazing and well worth the crowds and short hike.
All photos taken by JLP