Explore To Be Done - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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My brother, a niece, a nephew and two girl friends and I set out to do this trail on Aug 9-13th. We stayed that long but didn’t finish the loop. We started at Lava Camp lake trailhead. We started way too late in the day and by brother became overheated to the point of stopping. South Matthieu lake was our stop. We decided to set out to finish the first days 3 miles as well as the second days 10. Needless to say we only made it to Soap Creek. By then I was suffering with many blisters. Instead of continuing on we set up camp and headed back the next morning . *side-note, we should have just continued because the way back was way harder. So we made it back to Matthieu lake for the night and chose the next day to go the other way, PCT. we made it to Minnie SCOTT spring where it was beautiful, butterflies everywhere. We set up camp and set out to see Opie Dilldock Pass and was not disappointed. We hiked out the last day to our finish. I will say everything from Matthieu lake south to past soap creak was nothing but a burn scar and only water at alder creek. When it is hit there is absolutely no sun protection. Lava lake camp trail is also a burn scar. I will do this hike again and finish it. I will start at pole creek or obsidian. I want to see the south end.

Nice easy trail, good views of sparks lake and interesting rock formations

The lower falls is an excellent hike if you are looking for a fairly short and easy hike with high reward. Be sure to make your way to the base of the falls!

Hot weather and scary, burned forest, but the trail was easy and North Matthieu was beautiful. No bugs!

Boyfriend, me and our dog did this trail June of 2017. Great trail, and our xl dog loved it. The lava rock was amazing! Taking the “off trail” trails to the bottom of the falls is worth it.

Pretty good hike and fairly easy. Less that 1000 ft of elevation gain and the path is nice. Lots of burn area which is a little unsettling. Most trees look like they could tip at any time. Both lakes are cool and it’s fun to see the PCT hikers come through! Follow all our adventures on Instagram @themicrotourists.

Quick trail, spectacular views.

simply beautiful! it was interesting walking through the burned area from 2017 and the snippet of PCT was astounding.

Lovely hike!

Other than a little rocky patch in the beginning the rest was very easy!
Beautiful!! I have MS and my balance can be off often but just using a walking stick made this trail SUPER easy!

Total mileage is about 5.7 miles actually (tracked with Gaia). Beautiful easy hike. The burned out parts of the forest are stunning. Total loop took just under 2 hours. Nice way to break up the drive to Bend from Eugene.

I am just starting to get into hiking by myself and it was the perfect length and such beautiful falls!

Super fun and easy trail with a great rewarding view! My personal favorite part of this hike was walking through the lava rock and walking up to the Lower Falls. I wouldn't recommend this hike for smaller children only because in the beginning of the trail there are a lot of rocks and a major tripping hazard for the little ones. Beautiful hike all around and one I will definitely be visiting again!

backpacking
1 month ago

Discovered this trail after Three Fingered Jack was too hot (90s) for my pup. Even though the temperature still soared, there was enough tree coverage to provide adequate shade even through the burnt forest. Plus, the lakes are so lovely.

The trail is moderately easy with a minimal incline leading up to the south lake. There are at least seven campgrounds, one of which we stayed in. Don’t skip the northern lake as it has beautiful views of the surrounding area and a few additional campgrounds. Don’t be alarmed when you pass two blackened lakes on your way- those are ponds and are not the water feature.

Don’t forget your sunscreen. Two of the creek crossings were a bit more than anticipated but the views and serenity were well worth my wet shoes.

A nice short hike. Was perfect for a couple kids who prefer to be indoor cats and on a device. We went on a holiday and as expected it was very busy. We will return and do this again hopefully on less busy weekday.

The burned section was long. Views were fabulous on the way out. Bugs at the lakes

Was beautiful early June with minimal snow. Bugs were thick and good fishing in the lake!

hiking
1 month ago

This hike is awesome. I can understand lacking motivation to do it since you can also drive to the top, and tons of people do that very thing. Nevertheless, there are views along the hiking trail that cannot be seen any other way than hiking the trail. I'm talking awesome views! Well worth the steep climb up. I see no reason to start at Paulina Lake along the Crater Rim Trail as this route suggests. Drive 0.7 miles on the road toward Paulina Peak, and you will find a gravel parking area and trailhead. The section of trail from the lake not very interesting anyway. From the trailhead mentioned, it is two miles up and two miles back for a total of four miles. On your way up, watch for side trails to huge rocks. These side trails offer some awesome view angles. Be very careful though! Don't let small children play close to the cliff edges. I don't recommend climbing the huge rocks that jut out. It's tempting, but they are vertical climbs and dangerously situated on the edge of doom below. Just get close enough to the rocks to snap photos of the lakes below or of Paulina Peak above (the trail's destination).

Epic views! Lots of burned areas but there were also a lot of amazing sights which made this short hike well worth it. Maybe it was me but it felt like much more gain than 900 ft. Could have been the elevation that had me more winded than usual. Surprisingly the mosquitoes were almost non existent today. A few annoying biting flies but even those were sparse.

hiking
1 month ago

Solid hike, intense incline, and amazing views!! You can cut the first 1.5 miles through the flat wooded area and start at the actual trailhead. It's about .3 miles up the main Paulina Peak car road, and there's a parking lot on the right. It's 2 miles up with about 1400 incline from this point.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful hike--the lower falls requires a fair amount of scrambling to get close to the falls. We managed it with an adventurous 3 year old, but it was a bit tricky. The variation in landscape throughout the hike is really cool!

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful hike to North Matthieu Lake. Well worth the effort and gorgeous views as you go. A few things others haven't mentioned yet -
1) Don't take your first right if you have joined the hike from the Lava Camp Lake parking lot. If you do that first right - you will end up hiking on a lava trail to the Pac Crest Trailhead. This trail however, has a lot of amazing views of the mountains that you may not otherwise see - but is very hard if you aren't sure footed.

2) MOSQUITOES - Lots of them. Maybe there was just a hatch, but WOW. Take your repellent. Along with the swarms of mosquitoes you will also experience dive bombing and head circling big flies. Miserable if you aren't prepared. Our baby wore a buff to cover his head, ears and neck to stop the complete meltdown.

3) The trail feels like you will never make it to the lake and keeps going up - but don't give up. Once you feel like you may have gone the wrong way, and you will never get there - it will be right around the corner. :)

4) Dogs - off leash everywhere. Just be aware if you have your dog with you - and are using a leash - that almost everyone else isn't. Bummer for those that care and leash their dogs.

We will be doing this hike again - and will get to the South Lake the next time - as well as to see the crater everyone talks of.

Go for it!!

hiking
1 month ago

Worth hiking! I have never been so close to the North Sister. Also, I enjoyed snow near the South Matthieu - the 2nd of July!

hiking
1 month ago

This was a REALLY beautiful hike!! Went on 6/29, We started on the PCT at hwy 242, took the lava fields to the trailhead, it added an extra 2 Miles total to the hike but it was well worth it. Then we followed the lava wall all the way for the most part and you could also just follow the PCT the whole way to the south lake, then follow the lake trail all the way back for the loop. Both lakes were gorgeous!! The signs and directions seemed backwards to us, so we added some extra miles, but still fun and found another hike for another day! The directions on some of these trail signs are misleading to say the least. Easy to follow the lava wall. That is the reason for only 4 stars. And it was steeper than I anticipated. I’m not in terrible shape, but it was definitely a good up hill workout

hiking
1 month ago

Make sure to take the Lake trail up and the PCT down to maximize views! Watch your steps coming down. Trail has slippery rubble. Burnt forest is strangely beautiful. A good reminder of how fragile our forest ecosystems are. The lakes are beautiful not too many people but the bugs are out.

backpacking
1 month ago

Hiked the loop clockwise starting from the Green Lakes TH last week. The entire east side is snow-free from South Matthieu Lake until a good way up the climb to Green Lakes pass. The PCT is open again after the fires, but still under a lot of snow. We were only the second set of tracks, so if you hike it this early, bring a good GPS.

Beautiful, though!

hiking
2 months ago

A nice, short little hike! I went counter-clockwise and found that the trail to the left of the parking area is much less rocky. Heads up - the little bridge before the upper falls is missing a plank. Unfortunately, I didn't get the postcard perfect shot of the falls - I couldn't figure out where the scramble was! I'll have to try another time.

walking
2 months ago

Lovely, easy and well marked trail... if you begin to the Left, it will take you through peekaboo views of several Cascade Mountains as you walk through volcanic rock - such a contrast and a visual delight. The second half of the trail runs side by side with Sparks Lake - I had to pause to not only breath in the breathtaking views but to take photo after photo around every corner. I look forward to returning as everyday in Central Oregon has different weather patterns (blue skies, high/low clouds, rain, snow and more) and each brings its own magic.

Catch the PCT just a few hundred feet west of the Dee Wright Observatory. The trail itself is mixed terrain and crosses different sections of ancient lava flows (for the geology nerds out there). Wear sturdy hiking boots or your feet will be pleading for mercy on the rough and jagged lava rock. Little to no shade, so plenty of water and sunscreen is a must.

I highly recommend also heading to the top of Big Belknap Crater, which is just a bit further up the PCT before shooting to the left and up the steep scree-covered slope (can't really miss it), which adds another mile each way. The intimate view of Mt. Washington and the Three Sisters will blow your scree-filled socks off.

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