Maiden Peak Trail is a 17.5 mile out and back trail located near Oakridge, OR that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible from June until November.
Directions from Eugene: Proceed southeast on Hwy. 58. Continue east past the Oakridge Ranger Station for 27 miles to Waldo Lake Road #5897. Turn left onto it and continue for 2.0 miles to the trailhead, on the right.
I did the "long version" of the Maiden Peak Hike, combining the peak itself with a visit to the Rosary Lakes on the way up. This route does make the trail longer (a tad over 18 miles) but also provides additional scenic rewards: PCT to the three Rosary Lakes, quick stop at Maiden Lake and then the ascent to Maiden Peak.
I parked right off highway 58 at the spot where the PCT crosses it, half a mile East of the Willamette Pass Ski-Area. There is a large road-maintenance structure to the left of the highway (coming from Oakridge) and a parking at the PCT trailhead just East of that structure. The first 3 miles of the trail, on the PCT are almost due East, well shaded, and go gently up the Southern slope of the hill towards Rosary Lakes. This being the PCT, the trail is very well maintained and easy to travel; the only one might face, depending on the season, are the bugs that strive around Odell Lake (bring repellent!).
After three miles, the trail reaches the first and largest of the Rosary lakes. A good spot to take a quick break to rest feet and legs, to have a snack, or simply to enjoy the views of the lake and ridge to the West and North West. I was greeted by a nice and cool breeze which did a good job on this hot August day. There are quite a few camping spots right off the trail on the East side of the lake and a handful of parties had taken advantage of them the night before; the smell of breakfast where hard to ignore
For a mile, the PCT levels out and hugs the Eastern shore of the three Rosary lakes and offer several “beach access” spots (on the return journey, I use one of them to refill my water supply and rest my aching feet). Passed the last lake, the trail veers first West and then switches back East as it climbs towards the Maiden Peak saddle. Halfway through that climb, the Maiden Lake Trail branches off on the right; I left the PCT and took that trail.
The Maiden Lake trail is narrower than the PCT and basically circles the southern slopes of Maiden Peak for about 3 miles before coming to Maiden Lake. Here again, the 3 miles are not steep but instead follow a bit of a roller coaster pattern with a globally upward direction. The trail passes Maiden Lake on the South side and about 100 feet up. However, a short descent does get you to the water here too. Passed Maiden Lake the trail heads East to join with the last leg of the trip.
A bit under the eight miles mark, I reached the intersection with the trail to Maiden Peak for the last 1.5 miles up. The grade steepens for the first mile that reaches the base of the cone. The last .5 miles starts very steep and hard to negotiate but soon even levels off a bit for a more “human” ascent to the summit. Only halfway un the cone do the views open up, but the 360 degrees at the top are worth every ounce of sweat that leads you there. On a not so clear day the views went from Shasta, Thielsen, Mc Loughlin and Diamond Peak in the southern direction to Broken Top, Sisters, Bachelor, Washington an Jefferson Northward.
great trail. Offers great 360 view. Watched sunset. Spent night. Watched sunrise. Glacier on top for sledding.