hiking

forest

views

birding

backpacking

wild flowers

wildlife

Is this affected by the forest fires at all? We are heading up tomorrow.

I hiked and scrambled to The Wife and LeConte crater in mid August on an overcast day... and just before the trail got closed due to nearby forest fires (the trail was opened when I took off at 8:30 am but closed when I got back shortly after 3 pm).
I give 4 stars to this hike when I imagine the views on a sunny day. Even without the views it was a very enjoyable journey with a variety of terrains (from the usual wooded areas to the very unusual landscape of the Wickiup Plains to the amazing Rock Mesa flow and the scramble up the two high points).

Reaching both summits follows off-trail routes (the Wife scramble is well described in the "75 Scrambles in Oregon" book by Barbara Bond -- I got my inspiration from this book!). They are short ( a few hundred feet) but can be physically challenging when ascending/descending loose/scree-ish steep terrain (had a heavy pack that day).

The route I followed is 10+ miles and, if you are looking for a longer option, can be combined with a return via trail 17.1 (towards Moraine Lake) and 36 (lower section of the South Sister trail) .. or even go to Moraine lake.

The trails (when there is one) are very well maintained and not challenging: no heavy rocky section, no abundant roots, no very steep grades. The only "obstacle" are sections on the Wickiup Plains that are a tad sandy and can feel like a bit of a slog.

I had the chance to "meet" a deer standing watch at the edge of the wooded area leading to the South ridge of The Wife; it followed my - slow - progress across the Wickiup Plains and only took off when I got within 100 feet. Even better, I surprised a magnificent buck just as I crested LeConte crate; he too sauntered away from the unwelcome disheveled hiker.

I really liked the relative seclusion of this area, especially after I had a bit of trouble finding a parking spot (at 8:00am) in an area that can accommodate a LOT of cars (I had flashbacks to my previous "Saturday at the mall" experience climbing South Sister). The whole 7 hours on the trail, out and back, I only crossed path with 3 parties. Everyone else was apparently at the lake, on the South sister trail, or back-packing further out in the area.

hiking
7 days ago

hiking
9 days ago

hiking
15 days ago

Hard Hike! Millions of butterflies at the summit right now which is a sight in itself! Mosquitos for the first few miles, but you lose them after Moraine Lake.

backpacking
15 days ago

If the forecast permits, I highly recommend carrying your gear to the summit and camping there. Rock shelters are built to shield you from the wind though the wind still may keep you up from time to time by shaking the tent. It is one hell of a place to wake up.

backpacking
20 days ago

Stayed at Moraine lake. Great sky views. Great climb. Very rigorous. So many butterflies, which I can't find out why they are even there. Stunning views. If you don't start early the sun will really get you.

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked on July 19th and the trail still has snow in some spots. We used micro spikes and made it with no problems. I saw others with just their hiking boots and they didn't seem to have any problems either. Took us a long time about 10 hours round-trip...because I'm pretty slow. But we made it to the summit and the views are absolutely beautiful. The trail was not crowded at all. Next time we may camp and spend more time.

The trail to the top of Lowder is fairly easy to follow and had great views, but beware if you are trying to take either of the two trails heading west. Trail 3329 heading toward Yankee Mountain is incorrectly labeled as Walker Creek and is not maintained. With it's southern exposure, it is extremely overgrown and difficult to follow - more frustrating than fun. I never could find the real Walker Creek Trail (3330). I tried looking for it on my way up and back to the top of Lowder but never found any sign of it. I think the USFS has decided to just let these two trails fade away.

hiking
1 month ago

July 8 '17 Summit- Much of the hike is still covered by snow. It begins covering the trail well below treeline. You should have some route-finding skills and be comfortable traveling on snow.

The snow was pretty good on the way up, some people used crampons or microspikes, I did see some people with just hiking boots. The snow ended once you begin up the screen slope below Lewis Glacier. If you need to filter water, this lake is open. The ridge to the summit is clear of snow. The lake at the summit is still frozen over. Summit was great! Bring a jacket, it was a little windy. We hung out for about an hour and headed down.

The snow was pretty sticky on the way down. I did see some people with skis. Make sure you have sunscreen, and plenty of water (I drank over 100oz) or bring your filter. If you're not an ultramarathoner plan for a full day.

backpacking
1 month ago

Beautiful views, goes through forest. The start is a nice stream. It was well snowed in mid-July. The summit offered amazing views off all the cascade mountains from Shasta to Mt. St. Helens :) We backpacked up to moraine lake, then summited the next day.

Essentials are sunglasses for the snow, bug spray, and sun screen. Also, if you can pack as light as you can !!! If backpacking, take a small summit pack to summit. Leave the backpacking packs. Trekking poles also really help. You will drink a lot, so bring water filters to have water, and if you can a small backpacking stove to melt snow if necessary. Don't go off trail, if so take a compass, map or GPS device, you could get lost in the wilderness!

One of the best hikes I've ever been on. The views are incredible and definitely make the final grueling half mile worth it. Bring plenty of water, sunscreen and get an early start. I hit the trail head down at Devil's lake at around 6 and was at the summit by 10.