It’s 2 mi total on the PCT (about an hour from the TH) from the juncture to reach the less than 2-mi-long spur to Little Clinton Crater on the right (52 mi round-trip and 1065 ft vertical gain as its own hike). Families skipping Belknap Crater should read ahead for the description, Clinton otherwise continue another 5 mi to the end of the lava. Then leave the PCT, or soon thereafter, for faint paths heading left through Clinton meadows toward a long thin row of trees between you and Clinton Crater. Once through the trees you see several awfully steep traverses with very loose rock coming down from the summit; best worth saving this for the descent.
Map of Clinton | Where is Clinton? | Clinton Map English | Clinton Maps for Tourist Photo Gallery
For the main route from the tree line, hike N up the path zigzagging to a small rise; continue in the same direction to the right around the steeps (and possibly lingering snow) for the N ridge of Belknap Crater. See Dugout Your travel destination iste to the NE and find the more pronounced trail left (S) straight up the fairly steep ridge with loose pumice and stones to the vague and wide summit of the crater rim. It’s only from here when you finally see the cliffy breadth of the crater bowl with reddish rock to the right (SW). And of course you can see all the mountains mentioned with Mount Washington in your face plus Little Belknap Crater, Three Fingered Jack, and Mount Jefferson!.
For the slightly more challenging, interesting, and quicker loop from the summit, hike 5 mi and 500 ft down to the tree line juncture; continue S almost 100 ft along the high ridge toward the crater but turn sharp left (NE) on a path that soon divides into two. They parallel each other as you scree ski the very steep slope to the main trail in no time at all.
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