hiking

dogs on leash

birding

forest

views

Tried to get to this trail last weekend and the road is blocked.

11/19/17. There's road construction on the South Fork McKenzie River bridge that has closed the road. Unless you want to drive all the way around the lake you will have to wait till the end of November, at least, before the road reopens.

hiking
7 months ago

We just tried to do this hike today and both the French Pete Campground and trail are closed because of the fires this summer!!

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
10 months ago

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.

Love the berries along this little gem

hiking
Thursday, August 25, 2016

Lovely old growth that is well maintained and out of the way. There is a paved parking area that is just across the French Pete Campground, highly recommended.

hiking
Sunday, August 21, 2016

I chose a 14+ miles route starting with Scott Trail, then turning South on the PCT and then returning on the Glacial Way + Obsidian trails. The starting point was the Frog Camp Parking area just off OR 242.

The Scott Trail section gains about 1500 ft in 4.5 miles which makes for a nice warm-up. The first 3 miles are through fairly dense forest with the occasional meadows and leads to the crossing of the first lava flow. The lava flow is rather wide but the trail, although it cuts through the lava in a few points, mostly follows the lava wall using ‘untouched islands’ of vegetation. At about 4.5 miles, the trail exits the flow just South of Four-in-One cone. This is also where the view open all around and the trail levels off a bit. For another mile, the trail slowing ascends North-East until it t-bones into the PCT at the edge of a large meadow. A good spot for a quick rest or snack, looking at North Sister.

The first 1.5 miles on the PCT lead to the highest point on the route, just at the base of Collier Cone (also the halfway point of the route a 7+ miles). Initially, the trail is what you would expect from the PCT: nicely cut and maintained trail, reasonable grades. Eventually, though, it has to cut through the lava flow again and that makes for the typical ankle-busting proposal as it goes on for a little while, including a pretty impressive series of short switchbacks cut into a steep lava wall.

The following section on the PCT (about 2.5 miles) starts by following the west side of the lava flow before veering South-West, offering a few good resting/snacking sites and a more shaded path. This section ends at the crossing of Glacier Creek which provides a good source for replenishing your water supply if you have the right equipment. The junction with the Glacier Way trail is just a few hundred feet past the creek crossing.

The Glacier Way trail descends steadily for about 1 mile, hugging the West side of the creek for a while before rejoining the Obsidian trail at the foot of the last lava flow of the day. After crossing that lava flow (.5 mile), the Obsidian trail slowly descends back to Frog Camp for the last 3 miles, offering the welcome shade of a constant canopy.

Don’t forget to get a permit for entering the restricted access Obsidian Area.

hiking
Monday, August 24, 2015

I did the piece between Lucky Lake and Cultus Lake. Nice trail. Lots of blowdowns in June. Mostly flat, easy trail. Could be a nice day hike from the Lucky Lake trailhead to Cultus Lake and back.

hiking
Saturday, July 25, 2015

I did not know what to expect with this mountain. I was looking for a lower elevation, longer distance hike. I was extremely satisfied with this one. It took me about 2 1/2 hours total - with a nice 20 minute rest on the summit cliffs. I had the trail to myself. The trail winds through meadows of vine maple and blackberry, with amazing old growth strewn within the forest (look around for it!). It's a little overgrown at times, but I found this to be a fun and rugged trail. The trail comes to a fork at about the 2 mile point. Bear right here up to Lowder Mountain (.8). Walker creek continues to the left. The trail then switchbacks up to an open meadow, mostly dirt. The cairns were very helpful from here. The trail then traces a second meadow, finally reaching a cliff-side vista. I could see the Sisters, Broken top, Diamond peak, Mt. Washington, Mt Bachelor, and Mt. Hood. This would be an incredible place to camp. I will certainly return.

hiking
Monday, February 16, 2015

Great old growth! The bridge washed out about 5 miles in years ago and they never replaced it, so the hike is not that long. Great flowers in the spring.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

hiking
Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

hiking
Sunday, September 25, 2016

hiking
Saturday, May 21, 2016

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

trail running
Saturday, April 09, 2016