Explore the most popular lake trails in Mount Jefferson Wilderness with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
10 days ago

On the date we traveled this trail, we used snowshoes after the first mile. Not too much blowdown. There was only one other person on the trail, and no mosquitoes. However, it's warm and the snow was melting fast. It won't be long...

We were not equipped to cross the North Santiam, so we turned back at mile 2.8. It is beautiful and lightly sloped, but this route can be busy on weekends and the trail has a spur that leads right to Big Meadow Horse Camp.

backpacking
1 month ago

Very good trail. Horse traffic a bit of a nuisance at times. Lake is gorgeous.

Did this back in July 2016. Walked east and north on Summit Lake Trail #4014 past Square Lake and Booth Lake, and tent camped at Jack Lake. Most of this whole section of the trail was burned in the B an B complex Fire in 2003, but the resulting abundant wildflowers are striking through here. Also notable were large populations of mountain bluebirds using the dead snags for housing and resting. After Jack Lake we continued northwesterly bypassing the tarn spur and continuing on to Wasco Lake. North of Wasco Lake the trail makes a quick scramble to meet the PCT. Continued on the PCT south and back to the parking area. Thanks to whomever uploaded this!

As previously mentioned, FR 4220 is pretty treacherous even in a jeep, but completely doable.

We hiked this trail late October and of it weren't for some previous hikers footprints and the rock stacks, we would have lost the trail entirely in the snow fields. In some areas we would sink up to our hips in the deep snow. Fun!

It's mostly an uphill hike to reach Park Butte, with some flat areas near the base of your final climb, but totally
worth it. Make sure you use the apps trail route to keep yourself on course because it's easy to get lost in the snow and in the burn areas.

I would absolutely not begin this via the ollallie lake trailhead on the PCT via FR 4220 as mentioned below. This road isn't even good for your car even if you have high clearance. The entry into Jefferson Park via that route is, however, quite epic, but you can also risk getting lost in the snow fields if you go to early in the season. So if that happens, hit up Pyramid Butte, because you'll never ever want to be on FR 4220 again so you may as well do it.

At the top of the ridge (Park Butte) you'll have an epic view of a good portion of the state of Oregon. Ollallie Butte, Mt Hood and Mt Adams to the north and a spectacular view of Jefferson to the south as well as the valley that carves southwest from Park Ridge.

The descent is also epic, and the enjoying the crystal clear lakes is also an experience.

Incredible loop trail.Hiked clockwise. Got a late start yesterday from Santiam Pass and camped at Jack Lake. Headed down into Canyon Meadows once descended the three switchbacks. Trail is pretty easy to find down but we lost it in the Meadows. Just kept heading east until reached creek and crissed to trail and then to Jack Lake. Lots of snow and exposure on PCT above 5500. Wind and ice this morning and wide open views thru Booth and Square lakes. Overall a great hike....loved it

backpacking
7 months ago

Easy hike. Great views of the lake. River crossing can be a tricky!

Had a great time backpacking the loop during eclipse weekend

backpacking
9 months ago

Beautiful trip, about 12 miles of the same burn section that is long, hot, and boring. The views from the top make the trip completely worth it. Since there were multiple fires in the area, the smoke and heat will really get to you. Plenty of lakes to cool off in!

backpacking
9 months ago

perfect 2 day ripper for experienced backpackers, or a solid day for the adventurous day trip. Awesome views all around the loop. I recommend camping in upper Canyon Creek Meadow which is about half way through the loop (13ish if clockwise/11 if counterclockwise)
I started late afternoon and went counterclockwise towards Summit Lake. The first 8 miles are in the burn, so hitting this during the evening hours gave some respite from the heat. surface is sandy. If you get an early start out of Canyon Creek in the morning, you also miss most of the heat on day 2. As youll tuck in begind the summit ridge after climbing out of the canyon. Fill up your water at Koko, last chance for approx 6miles. You'll be on the PCT and will encounter some through hikers. Give em a smile and congratulate them on reaching a major milestone. Most will hit their 2,000 mile mark at some point along this stretch. This is a popular trail, so by timing your trip like I did, you'll end up with more hours of open trail.
Bring your pooch!

backpacking
9 months ago

Really great trail! Unique terrain due to the fire, but it's really hot in most places due to the lack of shade. Lots of lakes to jump in on the way though! The PCT gives you a great view of the upper meadow and Three Fingered Jack. Make sure to bring plenty of water containers.

backpacking
10 months ago

Fun mellow hike but a little dusty due to the horse traffic. Duffy lake was great! The water was so refreshing and clear. Still a little bit of bugs so pack the spray.

Gorgeous day ! Didn't encounter another group of hikers til we got to the lake! No snow, creek had water but super easy to cross on rocks! Absolutely beautiful hike! Bear grass was crazy!

backpacking
10 months ago

Nice overnight hike. Make sure you go late enough in the year because you can lose the trail on the west side after Wasco Lake due to snow. Also a few stretches that are grueling because of all the down trees that haven't been cleared in many years. Beautiful hike and worth the hard work. Great views almost the entire time.

off road driving
11 months ago

DO NOT GO TO THIS TRAILHEAD IF YOU HAVE A SEDAN. My Nissan Altima was able to handle the road for about 20 minutes (with 2 miles still left to go) and the road was terribly rock, so much so that I had more than several "Oh shit that sounds expensive moments" which caused temporary heartbreak. If you have a truck or jeep than this drive should be fine. I eventually pulled over at a nice camping spot with a rough tepee and a fire pit already built.

hiking
11 months ago

Went Sunday, snow starts at the Turpentine trail head, almost solid snow from a 1/4 mile past it. Dry creek bed has up to 1.5 feet of water running through it but easy to manage. Lots of trees down by can scramble around. Wanted to make it to Mowich Lake but trail became to hard to follow so looped around the backside of Duffy (lots od trees down) and halfway up Duffy Butte. Looking forward to the snow being gone.

This is a great hike. The lake is beautiful, but It's best to hike mid to late summer. There's still snow on the trail now in late May making it nearly impossible to get to the lake. There are some campsites along the lake, and there's always the option to head further on the trail to the Great Lakes Basin if you want to hike further.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Beautiful but terrible between Marion Lake and Wasco Lake. Hundreds of trees on the trail because it hasn't been cleared for years.

backpacking
Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Difficult loop trail but worth it. Large sections travel through a burn area. Drink lots of water in the summer!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

That access road is the worst in Oregon. Sketchy.

hiking
Saturday, September 12, 2015

great Hike, the tail is fairly easy to follow. the road up there is just horrible, just like everyone here(or any othere site ) says...it is that bad. you can make it with no problems, but have a vehicle with clearance.

hiking
Monday, August 24, 2015

Hiked in on the PCT from Breitenbush Lake. FR 4220 is a difficult road. You can get in with a regular car but it takes quite a bit of time and you aren't going to be moving very quickly. I'm sure if you have a high clearance vehicle it's a different story. The hike itself is great. I took the quick side trip up Pyramid Butte. The view from Park Ridge overlooking Jefferson Park from the north is a spectacular way to enter the area.

Even though we went during the week, most of the designated sites were full. The ranger told me they are going to start permitting camping next year in the area. I also visited the springs on the Breitenbush trail which is 2 miles west of Jefferson Park.

camping
Monday, August 24, 2015

Lots of people there, Yellowjackets pestered a lot, smoky air that finally cleared on our last day. Lakes are low but very clear, no sign of algae. Scenic trail up from Whitewater Creek TH but a steady climb that's challenging with a full pack. No huckleberries or flowers now as everything is dry, but good swimming in the lakes and birds to entertain you.

hiking
Sunday, July 19, 2015

The western end of this trail goes past several nice lakes to camp at, in particular Jorn Lake. Unfortunately, a majority of the trail is bone dry and covered in blowdown. This is the result of the B&B Complex fire raging through here. The trail has recovered little over the years.

Remember to fill your water before crossing the section between Minto Pass Trail and Little Bowerman Lake!

hiking
Monday, July 15, 2013

We went in July 2013. Long and arduous 30% inclines but once you get to the " park" and the little lakes and puddles are full of wildflowers such as avalanche lilies, Bear grass blooming, and many others. I went in a shallow lake and the water was warm. You also get to hike a piece of the PCT.

hiking
Sunday, December 09, 2012

Jeff Park is a wonderland of beauty! There are so many tails and places to camp that a day hike can easily turn into a 3-4 day backpacking trip, not to mention summiting the mountain!

hiking
Thursday, November 08, 2012

I love Jefferson Park meadow and have taken hike there from the North (PCT from Ollalie Lake) and from the South (White Water Creek to the PCT) It is possible to make this a day hike by using the White Water Creek, but I wouldn't want to try it from the North. In both cases we spent the night at one of the lakes in Jefferson Park. In both cases you need to climb. The climb from the North is more abrubt as you climb up the 7200 ft high ridge and then down into Jefferson Park. The climb from the South is more gradual, but a lot longer. Personally I enjoyed the hike from the North more than the one from the South as it was more scenic. The White Water trail is almost all in the trees with few views until near the top. However we made the hike into a two night 33 mile hike from White Water trail head to Jack Lake trail head. The views were really great; however once you hit the burn area what you are looking at isn't the best.

hiking
Tuesday, September 11, 2012

This hike is by far my favorite!!!

hiking
Sunday, August 14, 2011

OKEE, so this trail is LOOOONG! You can certainly do a full day hike to the first lake by starting on the Whitewater Trail and encounter Scout Lake and then head back. That is approximately 10 miles round trip if you start at the Whitewater Trail. I started at Cheat Creek Trail (first trail head you come to from the main road). The incline was steady and then levels off about 1/2 mile before you hit the meadow. I hit the meadow and couldn't find the trail to get on the Pacific Crest Trail to get to Scout Lake. Headed back down and drove to the Whitewater Trail head. You will need a Wilderness Pass to park in this area. It cost $5 for a daily pass or get an annual pass for, I think, $35. Pick it up at Detroit Ranger station before getting to the turnoff for this road! I made it to the first ridge and that's where I got the picture of the valley and Mt. Jefferson. I encountered quite a few backpackers and no hikers. This is backpack heaven! I will do the full day hike next weekend to Scout Lake and eventually backpack/camp this area to discover all the other lakes on the trail.

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