Help keep our trails and parks open during COVID-19 by committing to social distancing. Some trails or park services may be closed this weekend so check with local authorities before heading out.
Learn more

Carl Lake Trail is a 10.3 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Camp Sherman, Oregon that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and trail running and is best used from June until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 10.3 miles Elevation Gain: 1,345 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

running

forest

lake

wildlife

hiking
snow
9 days ago

I enjoyed this trail more than I thought I would! It’s easy to navigate/follow, has an easy gradual elevation gain, and has a lot to gawk at. Trail is in good shape with the typical wind debris and a few logs to hop over. The first bit of the hike is through an old burn area (2017-18?), but has come back to life and is lush with wildflowers. Very windy on the initial ridge line, but then the trail becomes more forested. When I got closer to Carl Lake (within a mile), the snow patches on the trail started appearing. At Carl Lake, the trail was lost under snow toward the west side before the junction to the Shirley Lake Trail (stopped me from trying to head south on that trail to explore South Cinder). The east and north sides of the lake were clear of snow. I woke up to it snowing at my camp in the AM (6/28). It’s a beautiful area of Oregon. No stunning views of Jefferson or other peaks, but still pretty with flowers, lakes and ponds, and other bits. I’ll more than likely try it again in late August to do some off-shoot trails.

hiking
1 month ago

As of 5/31, the trail is still mostly snowbound shortly after the switchbacks, GPS or route-finding skills needed.

hiking
10 months ago

Nice trail in, some dusty areas and rocks but moderate trail. Lots of huckleberries and few misquotes (was a bit windy). Beautiful lake, warm enough for a quick dip. Could see a pretty view of Washington for first part of hike.

backpacking
10 months ago

Average trail. If you're looking for flashy mountain views this isn't the right trail for you. You can only see the peak of Jefferson for about the first mile and then it's gone behind the ridge. Relatively easy, low grade hike. Camped at Cabot Lake trailhead since we got in late on Friday. All down trees that were previously mentioned were cleared and there were 6 rangers on the trail making improvements. There was no snow mid-August. Road in was very easy and the lakes were pretty. Not a lot of bugs but it rained both Friday and Saturday night so that probably helped. Overall good trail for beginner backpacker or a family but nothing special.

backpacking
bugs
rocky
11 months ago

hiking
blowdown
rocky
snow
washed out
Wed Jun 19 2019

Lots of variety. Strong breeze most of the day stopped emerging flies and mosquitos from bothering us. Beautiful trail but hampered by wash outs from melting snow, snow, at least eight trees were down, and rocks. Evidence of campers closer than 100 feet from water. High mountain lakes were lovely. Wildflowers were delightful but almost overwhelming with the smell. Did not make it to cinder come for views due to snow. Still - glad we spent time here.

hiking
Tue Jun 18 2019

Beautiful wild flowers starting to come out. Got up to SW end of Carl Lake but had to turn back because of to much snow. Great day with light breeze not to hot. 8 trees over trail, but nothing you can't climb over or go around.

Wed Nov 21 2018

First 1.5 mi or so recovering burn area. Trail on ridge overlooking valley with partial views of Jefferson and Forked Butte. Old growth forest is pristine. Look for side trail to Cabot Lake at mile 2. Pools frozen over like winter wonderland. Carl Lake pretty with cliffs and view of cinder butte. Not one other person on trail in late November. Lost a star only for access road. Fine for cars but long trek and rocky in places.

backpacking
Sun Jul 01 2018

Perfect time of year for wildflowers and there were butterflies all over. There are still patches of snow heading from Carl Lake to the PCT, but very passable. The nights were cool, but it was pleasantly warm during the day, the mosquitoes were just starting to swarm.

hiking
Mon Jun 25 2018

What an amazing hike! Everything is so green and the wildflowers are blooming. The waterfall to the right of Carl Lake was the perfect spot for lunch. There were at least 4 lakes we passed. Don’t listen to google maps as it took us a random way. Head to Jack Creek and go out that way (vs. Camp Sherman Road). Mosquitos were out but not too bad. The first (and then last) part of the trail is in full on sun so be prepared.

hiking
Wed Jun 20 2018

If you're thinking of going to Carl Lake, do it! We went in mid-June midweek and only saw three people (on our hike out). The lake was gorgeous, very few mosquitoes (mid-June), and there was a little wind in the evening. There is also a small waterfall at Carl Lake if you continue to your right! The weather was fantastic and the hike's incline was moderate and gradual. The burn area was gorgeous in its own way, but (as other reviewers have pointed out) there is little shade for about 1.5 miles and the sand would be very hot on a dog's bare paws. Because there is such a distinct change of scenery and four lakes/ponds to stop at along the way, I think this could be a great introductory backpacking trip for active children or adults new to backpacking. It's very rewarding!

Tue Jun 12 2018

Made it to Carl Lake on the 26th of May, last 2 miles is all over snow, most pond/lakes frozen over. Carl Lake reminded me of going thru the wardrobe into Narnia. Cabot lake was nice tho!!

hiking
Sat Jun 02 2018

The lake is really beautiful but PLEASE be careful bringing your dog here. Our poor guy really burned his feet up in the beginning part which had a forest fire and is really exposed sand. We got booties for him after this hike and will never make that mistake again.

backpacking
Thu Jul 27 2017

Anyone who's been up here recently, how are the mosquitos?

hiking
Wed Jul 19 2017

Some friends and I did this hike with 6 dogs, all of which are regular hikers also... We only made it as far as Cabot Lake because the ground was so hot that the dogs were running into the bushes to cool their feet! It was before noon and only 70 degrees out so we were't sure why it was burning their feet. Maybe cause the ground is more of a powdering type, like walking on the beach when the sand is hot. You run! Would not recommend for dogs unless it is cool weather. Those in the group that had small dogs were carrying them back. The bigger dogs we just had to stop many times on the return to let them lay in the bushes to cool off. Other than that it was a great day! Haha!

hiking
Sun Jun 04 2017

Made it to Cabot Lake and the trail was overgrown a bit but clear of snow except for two small spots. Very green and no mosquitoes out yet.

camping
Sat Jul 30 2016

Absolutely gorgeous!

Wed Jan 06 2016

Super cool

Fri Aug 14 2015

This is a nice lake but it does not offer a lot of camp sites if you are backpacking. There are two day hikes that I found that you could do from the lake. The first will take you up to the PCT. The second starts on the NW corner of the lake. This is a awesome trail. At first it climbs a bit but then levels off and takes you north towards Mt. Jefferson. There is a lot of diversity; forests and wildflowers, open expansive, and great views of Jefferson from the south if you venture far enough.

hiking
Tue Jun 30 2015

Went on probably the hottest weekend so far this year, and hit the trail in the heat of the afternoon so the hike in was rough, but the trail itself is very moderate at the steepest. Once at Carl Lake it made the hot hike worth it. Very beautiful lake, and 360 degree views. The lake was very warm for an "alpine" lake, even did some swimming. It's busy during the days but at night very peaceful. I prefer more seclusion and that is why I'd only give it 4 stars but everything else was worth it, and it was a really good season opener for me.

walking
Fri Jun 19 2015

The first few miles are nothing but loose dirt. No shade and lots of dust, so be prepared to either get a very early start or bring lots of water. Once you get into the forest, its quite a relief. Lots of switchbacks toward the middle. The lake was absolutely stunning! Clear and refreshing. But we couldnt stay long because it was swarming with mosquitos. We stayed til after sundown then headed back. Then moon was full and bright and there were toads all over the trail. Pretty easy hike overall. Nice to make a day of it

camping
Fri Sep 28 2012

The Cabot Lake trail to Carl Lake is the East door to the Jefferson Wilderness and is a beautiful scenic hike. While it can be done in a day, 12 miles round trip, it is better enjoyed by taking a couple days to take it all in. there are Brown trout, brookies and Rainbow trout in the lake, but you have to have some skill to catch them. The deer feed by the lake every night and bear are common in the area. This is a real favorite!

hiking
Mon May 31 2010

First part of trail, thick huckleberry bushes, easy to lose the trail. But the rest of it is gorgeous and worth the trip.

hiking
2 days ago

recorded Carl Lake Trail

hiking
3 days ago

hiking
4 days ago

Showing results 1 - 26 of 43