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2 months ago

Have done this twice: last year in late June I did the loop and this year (while hiking PCT) I just went straight through Coyote Trail. It’s beautiful, but there is a lot of loose rock, meaning sketchy footing, meaning constantly calculating each step in order to not fall or skid down a steep cliff to critical injury. The trail is easy enough to follow, but not used enough or maintained enough for it to remain flat, so some slopped parts offer more obstacles. If you’re confident in your footing and not afraid of height, do it!!

AMAZING! Pack warm though. We actually got snowed on. By far one of the best backpacking trips I've ever done.

backpacking
3 months ago

One star for a craptastic map of a five star hike.

This map is garbage. Do not rely on the author's way points (there are none, btw). The Sisters Loop is approximately 55 miles if you include a summit of South Sister. If you inspect this map closely you will see that it completely abandons the trail on the east side of the loop and appears to walk along the ridge line from peak to peak.

Just did this trail because we were routed off the PCT due to fire. Parts of this trail are beautiful but there was too much loose gravel for me to really enjoy it.

We hike the west, steep, part of this trail with our 3 elderly dogs most days when we’re in our cabin. Our mood and level of fatigue determines how far we continue after the first turn around. The directions given appear to be for the lesser used east end of the trail and to that extent are incorrect. Road 32xx has been decommissioned at the fork. Further, as of a few weeks ago, the bridge has been decommissioned so much of the access is necessarily on foot, extending the effective trail length by about one mile.

Alternatively, park in the Camp Creek Camp Ground, cross the footbridge at the west end and ascend a few hundred yards on Still Creek Trail to its junction with Road 32, turn right, and continue to the Flag Mountain Trailhead, approximately 3/4 mile.

Most hikers (as evidenced by the other reviews and by observation) access Flag Mountain Trail from the western trailhead, where the oft-mentioned steepest half mile is found. Turn west onto Road 20 off Hwy 26, continue approximately 1 mile to Road 20E on the left. The trailhead is about 40 yards in, with parking for several cars. (If no space is available, there are multiple turnouts on Road 20 that can be used.)

Starting off just south of the timberline lodge and finishing at the locks is a really fun trip! We definitely had plenty of water sources along the way. The only stream crossings to worry about are the Sandy River and Muddy Creek, both are easy to pass even with a full pack. Since we only did this section we were still able to meet other Thur Hikers for the PCT both going north and south.

I recommend this section for anyone who has some experience, even the novice sort can make this a doable trip.

Would love to do it again right away, but I will definitely pack lighter and move faster!

hiking
4 months ago

I did the the elk creek hike about a month ago. the trail to Welcome Lakes trail is pretty good. Some trees down but most have been cut. That being said this trail does not receive the normal maintenance that other trails get so expect to crawl over a few trees.

I backpacked this route on July 1st and 2nd, 2018. Starting at Windy Ridge, I went counter clockwise around the mountain, choosing to get through the approximately 10 mile no camping zone on the north side first.

The parking area is the Windy Ridge interpretive center and the road that shows on maps leading from there to a closer trail head is gated off. You will have to hike from Windy Ridge about two miles to get to the Loowit Trail. A National Forest Pass is required to park, but no other fees or permits are required for this hike.

The north side of the volcano is the side that blew up in the May 18, 1980 eruption. It is still very much a desolate area with no trees and very little vegetation beyond grass and some beautiful fields of flowers. The numerous river flows off the mountain are wide areas of rocky ground over which any semblance of a trail cannot survive from year to year. Look for the stacked stone cairns and single wood posts that mark the trail.

The first couple of miles on this route crossed several rivers that were still flowing with water, but after that there was no water available until the Toutle River on the west flank of the mountain. The desent into the Toutle River gorge was a little hairy. The trail traverses steep slopes consisting of loose volcanic gravel and should be traveled with extreme care. At the bottom, the last 50 feet to the river bed can only be reached hand over hand down a knotted rope anchored at the top for that purpose. It is a steep enough drop that you will not be able to keep your feet should you let go of the rope.

The Toutle River was not difficult to cross at the time I traversed it, but I found the area on the south side of the river to have surprisingly few decent camp sites. Camping here was also challenging in that water had to be retrieved from the Toutle, which had rope assisted climbs in and out of it on both sides. I located a camp site a short distance further down the trail to the south near a stream.

The southern portion of the mountain is characterized by large and very deep washes that are both challenging and hazardous to cross. One was steep enough that ropes had been fixed on both sides. Without them, it wouldn't be possible to get through it. There are also large stretches of lava fields where the trail is often visible only because of the marker posts. Trekking poles are invaluable tools in this terrain and don't expect to make good time.

I encountered no water sources from my camp near the Toutle River all the way to a stream a short distance from June lake, a distance of 10 miles, give or take. I also saw few camp sites, those that were there being devoid of water sources. I did not visit June Lake, though I was told by other hikers that camp sites were available there.

From June Lake the trail begins a steady uphill stretch that seems to go on forever. On the eastern side there was a section of wash outs, some six or seven in a row. Once your are through that, the trail levels out for an awe inspiring walk across the plains of Abraham. The views of both Mt St Helens and the hills to the east are incredible.

The decent down the ridge on the Abraham Trail is steep and covered in loose gravel. There are wooden steps set in the trail to assist hikers in keeping their feet, and they are necessary. It was very windy when I went through here, to the point that I was nearly knocked off my feet a couple of times.

Overall, this was one of the most beautiful and rugged hikes I've ever been on and I highly recommend it for experienced hikers that are looking for a challenging trail.

backpacking
5 months 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!

strenuous hike through some nice forest. Steep enough that I'd categorize it has a "hard" trail. Your leg workout for the day for sure. Have good traction shoes.

hiking
7 months ago

I’d rate this trail difficult rather than moderate. It’s very steep in the first section and you continue to ascend, though more gently, to the top. Having said that, it’s beautiful, as all the trails are in this area. Just be prepared to huff and puff and bring your trekking poles!

May 2018 update. This trail is no longer open to the public and there are many signs that it is private property and closed as it is no longer safe. The other name for this hike is the Salmonberry trail. CLOSED

Tried to make it out here today. First, we drove past the trailhead, we thought it might have been the trailhead cause we drove over railroad tracks but our Google Maps told us to keep going. We only went a bit further though before it started to snow so we turned around and went back to where we'd crossed the tracks to give it a try. However, when we got out of the car there was audible gunfire from nearby. Turns out the trails runs parallel to an area where people like to practice shooting, even though there we signs that said "no shooting" (but they had bullet holes in them...) Anyways, we opted not to try since we weren't sure it was the correct trail head and the proximity of the gun range to the trail seemed too dangerous for our comfort. Once home I confirmed that the area with the gun range was the trailhead so we may go back later in the year when it isn't snowing.

hiking
8 months ago

The first half a mile is where you get all your elevation. I would consider this a hard but short hike. Our dogs loved it! Definitely cloudy when we went, but we will be back on a sunny day just for Mt. Hood.

Cool, easy out and back. Impossible to get lost since you just follow the railroad. Trail is becoming overgrown which is beautiful imo. Very cool old railroad structures. Careful on the bridges and in the tunnels.

so it only lost a star because it is covered in a foot of snow at the moment, making for a tougher trek. beautiful though. I'll definitely go back. we made it 2.5mi in to the first tunnel but turned back because of snow. I HAVE to go back to see the bridges.

I took my dog last week. It put into perspective how out of shape I am. lol

backpacking
10 months ago

A few friends and I backpacked this loop last August. We entered at the Devil’s lake trailhead and proceeded counter clockwise from there. We made it as far as camp lake which is a amazing side trip and worth the extra distance. Unfortunately, we were diverted from there due to a large wildfire north of Camp Lake. Rangers had closed the entire west side of the loop and were rerouting PCT hikers east and then south to avoid problems. We ended up circumnavigating Broken Top and cut the trip short. I will most certainly be going back to finish this loop. Be sure to secure permits for the Obsidian area in advance of your trip, they’re limited.

hiking
10 months ago

Nice and steep out of the gate. Good quick hike. Our dogs loved it too.

backpacking
10 months ago

Loved Three-Sisters- although this trail is not 35 mi- it is 45-50 miles depending on your entry point. I hiked clock-wise over 3 days 3 nights beginning at Pole Creek- there is no camping in the burn area at Pole Creek until you reach your first unnamed lake. There was no campfires allowed in Deschutes when I was there- which was not long after the big fire. This may have changed but I would check before going. Green Lakes was amazing, I went swimming in the water and spent plenty of time enjoying myself there, as I suggest to anyone taking this loop! Obsidian Falls was beautiful as well, but again- you can't camp here without special permits. Collier Cone was a long ascent and had limited water- but we never ran out. Overall it was amazing and 10/10 would return.

Not much of a workout as far as elevation gain goes but by far my favorite walk in the woods I've taken in along time. Beautiful forest views with cool defunct railroad gear. Bring a flashlight, the tunnel is dark and creepy.

12/31/17 4wd will definitely be needed once you enter the forrest. This hike truly is a GEM and has everything you could ask for in a hike. The railroad is quickly becoming overgrown and washed out so enjoy it while you can. Not recommend if scared of heights and the tracks are very slippery when wet. My dog was terrified of the bridges so be careful.

Beautiful fall walk! Will do this one again

hiking
Monday, September 25, 2017

It's a short, steep hike to the summit and the view at the top is breathtaking. When it's clear you can see the top of Mt Hood - it was a little cloudy when we went but the expanse of evergreen was totally worth the huffing and puffing.

hiking
Sunday, September 24, 2017

Fun solo hike on a Sunday morning. Saw a few runners, and two small groups. I consider this on the easy side of moderate.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Definitely would do it again to sit on the ridge line with the view of the top of Mt. Hood. Steep and hard at first but what a sense of accomplishment when you finish! Nice short, tough hike for the morning where you still have time for lunch with friends when you are done !!!

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