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on Broken Top Loop Trail

backpacking
3 days ago

Originally had planned to do the loop in two nights and three days, but pushed through to do one night/two days. I agree that clockwise would be my advice as well, maybe some additional climbing the first day going uphill, but I would not have had the physical and mental strength to do the last part on a second or third day. Skirting Broken Hand was a little unnerving but doable - happy to have gotten it out of the way on day one. Camped at Green Lakes which was beautiful and not super buggy. Lots of water sources along the way but also a lot of exposed trail pretty much the entire time. No Name Lake is gorgeous but I wouldn’t get water there due to the animals on the ridge (dead elk ). Not sure how long they’ve been there, but best not to take chances. We backpacked this on August 8-9, 2018.

WARNING!!! 16 DEAD ELK CONTAMINATED THE WATER AT NO NAME LAKE AT THE SUMMIT OF BROKEN TOP

Hiked August 7th-9th 2018

I REALLY would recommend CLOCKWISE or else you’re going to have a rough day three. It gets the hardest part out of the way and you start off the biggest incline hydrated, full, and with no sore muscles. If you went counter-clockwise it would be a slow incline the whole time until say where you climb Broken top with 2 days of day hiking Under your belt! People say the views are better counter-clockwise but it’s all the same trail, all you have to do is look behind you and then you’re facing the counter-clockwise view!

We hiked 10 miles the first day up to the summit of Broken top were we collected water and then down Broken top to small creek where we hammock camped and got more water.
On day 2 we made the short and Beautiful hike past green lakes to Golden Lake 6 miles away, there’s a stream right across the lake for fresh water and the views of Broken top are amazing! This day was for swimming, napping and relaxing as it only took 4 short hours to get there.
On the last day we hiked 8 miles to the beginning of the loop with a short incline at the end before walking downhill to the car. There were 3 or 4 creeks on the way for water but almost no shade. We finished this stretch in about 5 hours.

Hike is a little hard for beginners like us but anyone can do it with the right supplies!

What made it easy was my straw water filter I could screw on to water pouches, so I could fill them and drink right away from any stream. Also the self heating Omeals from REI were so cool, so yummy and self heats in only 5 miles with no supplies.

Great hike!!!

backpacking
12 days ago

Absolutely amazing loop! Hiked counterclockwise + spent first night at golden lake — lovely, a few bugs but nothing terrible. Spent night 2 at no name lake — WINDY, but not too cold and the sunset was unreal. Only part that was a little tricky was meeting back up with the tam mcarthur rim trail after heading cross-country from broken top on the third day. We skirted around the bottom of broken hand (not sure if that was the quickest way), but there was a tiny sort of trail marked with cairns. If you’re heading over this way, heads up that the meet up with the rim trail is right when you come up to the top of the saddle and broken hand/broken top are on your right — we started heading downhill through the rock field and had to scramble back up a bit to meet the trail. All in all a fantastic trip with no shortage of scenic views, would recommend to anyone!

Did the loop counterclockwise like most people suggest and it was the right call. The first 6 or so miles were a bit dry and boring (mostly burnt). Once you get some elevation it becomes much better. Plenty of creeks the entire way. After you pass green lakes it is beautiful. I did 20 the first day and camped at broken top and I’m glad I did. Sunset at broken top was perfect. camped overlooking the lake and it was great. Woke up and did the easy 5 down and am off to see more.

backpacking
17 days ago

Your best bet is to start at the Pacific crest Trail at the Santiam Pass Trail head hike that to Santiam Lake Trail then on to Bowerman Lakes area Jorn lake is the best

hiking
21 days ago

It was an INTENSE!! hike at 6:20am to 5:30pm. It was AMAZINGLY!! beautiful feeling when u get to the top

ass-kicker. great hike

A tough climb but worth it! An excellent challenge for body, mind, and spirit. I suggest taking as many breaks as you feel you need; your legs will thank you on the descent. Bring plenty of water, and more than you think you'll need on hot days. It took me about 4 hours to reach the summit, and 3.5 hours to hike back down. I did soak in the views of the gorge and mountains in Washington along the way, and spent about an hour on the summit gazing at Mt. Hood.

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked July 11. Well marked trail (except near the rock falls) with 2 waterfalls, a lake and views all along the trail. Went up Defiance, down Starvation. Because of the closed Wash out trail at the end we had to take on another steep ridge and cross over a log on the creek- added about 2-3 miles onto the hike. Total hike time was 9 hours and 20 minutes with 2 hours of stopping time for pics and lunch. The summit is a huge ugly power station but u can sit on the rocks that has a view of Mt Hood (too cloudy for us to see it) with the power Station at your back.

Pretty tough hike, but you can fly down in the return. amazing views at the top. Fairly exposed for the top two miles so wear sunscreen. Bring at least two water bottles and some sort of food. No snow now. saw only two other hikers on the bottom section.

hiking
1 month ago

This hike was a good climb with even better views at the top! Hit a small snow patch, but it was easy to pass. Beware of the mosquitoes! 6/24/18.

hiking
1 month ago

Previous reviewer got confused. The Starvation ridge trail #414 is very much open, it's the short Starvation ridge cut-off trail that is closed. Starvation ridge trail #414 can be taken from the Mount Defiance trail #413 instead of from the cut-off trail until it reopens. Hope this helps.

Consider yourself a champion after completing this hike! I've seen several folks say they used the Starvation Ridge Trail to either ascend or descend, but that trail is still closed, clearly marked as such. You need to do the full hike on the Mt. Defiance Trail, only. Excellent views of Mt. Adams, Hood & St. Helens. Bring lots of water, as portions are exposed in the burn area.

Really good trail lots of amazing views

1 month ago

Brutal hike! I did to the top 12miles back and out w 5k elevation gain

backpacking
1 month ago

Did this as an overnighter the first week of July. As everyone says, counter clockwise is best. Mountains and lakes within view the whole time. Slept at Golden Lakes but up in the stone to avoid mosquitos. There were only a couple spots with heavy mosquitoes but we just kept moving through those parts. None at higher dryer elevations. Noname Lake was still covered in snow and ice so we did not sleep there but continued back to the trailhead using the Rim Trail. The Rim Trail was amazing! We skirted the rocks on the path around the butte which was a little sketchy but not too hard. The butte is the only hard part in trying to find a trail.

If I were to recommend this, I would say take three days and camp in Green Lakes area first night. Then take a day trip with only water and extra clothes to summit South Sister. With the last day being to climb to Noname Lake and Rim Trail home. :) Lots of Miles but two mountain tops and amazing views!

hiking
1 month ago

Great Hike. Nine Boy Scouts and three Scout Leaders did the loop counter-clockwise from July 6-8, 2018. Day 1 was Three Creeks Lake to Golden Lake. About 8.5 miles. Lots of down fall and a few streams to cross. Day two started at Golden Lake and ended below No Name Lake. About 11.5 miles. Great views at the saddle between Broken Top and South Sister. Started to run into lots of hikers are Green Lake. Last mile involved lots of elevation. Day 3 started with the hike up to No Name Lake. The lake is pretty, but the money spot is the ridge above No Name Lake. To the North, we had a full view of the Sisters, Mt. Washington, Three Finger Jack, Jefferson, and Hood. Many photos taken. From that point the trail along the ridge is very rough -- loose rock and snow fields on steep pitches. After about a mile, you link up to the main trail and it's smooth sailing back to Three Creeks. Overall, the hike's rewards vastly exceed its drawbacks. Highly recommended.

backpacking
1 month ago

Pretty amazing loop. Agree that CCW is ideal. Get the burn out of the way first, many many downed trees on trail. I recommend skipping the little lake offshoots and scrambling the NW ridge instead. Even if you only just gain the ridge (8200ft) the views are epic and it’s much more peaceful than the highly trafficked lakes. Water ever few miles. And as of early July 2018 there is little to no snow on route. Most of it is near the rim portion and can be done in tennies. Would do a few weeks earlier (mid June) if done again, as the peaks are prettiest with ample snow. Beware of mosquitoes!!! Hoards of them anywhere below ca. 7500ft.

hiking
1 month ago

I’m pretty convinced this is closer to 14 miles, and absolutely convinced I don’t want to do it again. The route down was really tricky, and the total trip took me 10 hours with a stop for lunch. 3L of water, snacks, and a sandwich was plenty of fuel, but I wouldn’t have necessarily wanted to take less than that.

It’s a good training hike— really steep coming up (I came up Starvation), and glacially slow picking your way down the same grade (I came down Defiance, which was more poorly maintained, washed out in a few places, and offered a good look at recovering, post-burn forest). The views are best on Starvation, where you can see an osprey nest, pass Lake Warren, and get a really beautiful volcano view. The summit boasts a clear shot of Mt. Hood, and a good look at the hills beyond, but the experience is partially marred by the massive radio tower up there.

All in all: this is a hike for the journey, not the destination— and the journey is really physically demanding, particularly post-summit.

hiking
1 month ago

Definitely a really hard hike for beginners! Took me 9 hours to do the whole trail but that includes 40 minutes of rest and another 40 minutes because I went on a wrong trail in the beginning.

I took Mount Defiance going up and Starvation coming down. There’s a nice lake there too, perfect for camping and staying the night.

This trail was amazing… The map that is shown goes off trail a significant amount but because we had GPS we were able to figure it out. Going later in the summer if you are worried about losing the trail would be ideal so that the snow has time to melt. We went counterclockwise which was for sure the best because the mountains were in our view the entire time. Going that way there were incredible campsites at about mile five and again around mile 15.

Great hike, very beautiful but kicked my ass. Bring lots of food and water. Maybe one half a mile of flat stretch. The rest is either very steep up hill or down.

hiking
1 month ago

Did this hike last week...and I’ll probably never sign myself up to do it again. Near the bottom, I thought to myself “I’m glad I did this, but I’m even more glad to be done.” We started with Starvation Ridge, and had plans go back down Mt. Defiance trail, but we made a wrong turn and ended up back on Starvation. The uphill is brutal, the downhill is brutal. I’d recommend anyone with bad knees to steer clear! We had amazing views of Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Adams (I think) on the way up and Mt. Hood at the summit. I was a little disappointed, anticipating an open peak with a 360 view of the the cascades, but that wasn’t the case. Either way, beautiful with tons of wild flowers! We had the trail mostly to ourselves and only saw two other people coming down as we were going up and one more going up as we were coming down. Brings lots of food and water! I would’ve surrendered myself to the trail had I not had my two sandwiches, an apple, an orange, a granola bar, nuts, and two liters of water. After all was said and done, difficult, but worth it!

Beautiful hike. Only ran into one person on the actual Whetstone mountain trail, and it was decently well-maintained. Pretty difficult hike when it rains. There wasnt much snow in mid-June!

hiking
1 month ago

Hike up via Mt Defiance Trail and down Starvation Ridge Trail. Unexpected rain reaching the top was wet walk through fog coming down. Caught a glimpse of Mt Hood through clouds. Lancaster Falls and Warren Lake, overall a good hike.

hiking
2 months ago

A very tough hike—relentlessly steep. I went up Defiance and down Starvation Ridge in a little over 5 hours. Do your knees a favor and bring hiking poles. Parts of the trail are pretty overgrown but overall it’s in good shape. Sections of Defiance got scorched along the ridge line but Starvation was mostly spared.

hiking
2 months ago

Need 2 trekking poles for descent. 2 liters of water, 3 for a hot day. Loop completed with lots of breaks, picnic at Warren lake and stop at the top in 8 hours. Tougher than Table Mt. (from Bonneville TH) and Larch (from Multnomah Falls TH). Should be able to Dog Mt. without difficulty before attempting this. Do not take Starvation Ridge Cutoff Trail. Part of it is washed out and penalty for failure would be severe.

hiking
2 months ago

My son and I started at Defiance and came down Starvation (where there is a part of the trail that has been washed out just before the end of the trail. BE CAREFUL). Hardest hike hands down in the Gorge! 2nd time I have done this, started at Defiance this time. Up hill for 4 miles. The down trees - burnt - eerie feeling. But Nature wins, and it is already growing.
- we also saw a bald eagle flying so close to the ridge , we could see his eyes - really amazing.

hiking
2 months ago

This was the hardest trail I've yet to attempt, including Kilimanjaro. Maybe it was just not my day, but this was grueling for me. I've been walking daily for almost 10 months, but just started hiking a few weeks ago. Hamilton Mountain Trail was challenging, but easy enough. Dog Mountain, too. I'm slow as molasses but i got up and down Dog in less than 4 hours. But Defiance was rough. I went up Defiance and down Defiance and met a young man, a runner, who goes up Starvation and comes down Defiance in 3 hours. Youth is wasted on the young... This trail has only recently opened back up so you'll see lots of fire debris and damage and have lots of places you have to navigate fallen limbs and trunks and such. There certainly are better views, but for the workout and the challenge this is doable even for a slow, getting older and no better fellow who just plods along.

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