Mink Lake Loop Trail

HARD 6 reviews
#62 of 126 trails in

Mink Lake Loop Trail is a 17.2 mile loop trail located near La Pine, Oregon that features a lake. The trail is rated as difficult and primarily used for hiking, walking, and birding. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
17.2 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,391 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dog friendly

birding

hiking

walking

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

backpacking
11 days ago

It was a fantastic trip do you only thing I would recommend taking this trip in July is lots of mosquito repellent

hiking
18 days ago

I hiked to Mink Lake in late June, on a sunny and only slightly breezy day.

I mentioned the breeze because the combination of June and countless lakes, ponds, bogs, etc ,makes for legions of mosquitoes and other assorted "bugs". I came prepared with Deet and a mosquito net; both were put to constant and good use!

There is ample parking (plus a pit toilet) at the trailhead. The trail sign say "SIX LAKES TRAIL" and mentions Doris Lake, Blow Lake and the junction with the PCT at 6 miles (both heading out and coming back, this section barely clocked at 5.5 miles).

As others have mentioned, the trail (or trails) are well graded and well maintained (even if vegetation was encroaching in places around Mink lake). The whole route is pretty much going through forested areas and I did not have to worry about sunscreen (stopping in open areas for a while may change that). The elevation profile shows that the first section (from parking lot to PCT) is a long and sustained ascent (3+ miles) followed by a 1.5 miles drop to the PCT junction.

At the PCT, I deviated from the direct route and continued west on the PCT to visit Horseshoe lake (instead of heading directly to Porky lake). This brought the total distance out-and-back to just short of 21 miles. On this bright sunny June Saturday, I only met two other people during the course of the 11 hours on the trail; both were PCT section hikers on their way north. No campers, no one fishing. This does not appears to be a high traffic area -- it could also be because there are really not many "views" to speak of beyond the lakes and a few and brief views of the Sisters and Bachelor.

Mink Lake is definitely worth the visit. It feels like a "little Waldo" - minus the crowds -- with deep clean waters, forested shores, a trail along its shoreline. There are a few primitive, but very good, campsites just off the trail (there might be more if you go a bit off trail but I did not check). The size of the lake and the lay of the land did allow for an afternoon breeze to come through and push the mosquitoes away. There is an old shelter, quite dilapidated, on the southeast corner of the lake, with camping spots around too (the shelter itself does not offer much with half the roof gone and only two walls standing.

backpacking
10 months ago

Awesome lake! Super pristine water and not a terrible climb to get there. We actually backpacked in with the intent of camping at Cliff Lake, but there wasn't a decent place close to the lake to camp, so we continued to Porky Lake and did Mink Lake as a day hike. Next time I'll skip Porky and head right to Mink Lake.

backpacking
11 months ago

Mink Lake is a beautiful location. The hike in is equally impressive, high desert, lakes, meadows, long ascents and descents, and quiet. We encountered three groups on our hike, all on the trail. The lake was cool, refreshing, and crystal clear. We tried our hands at fishing, and despite seeing them rise we had no luck. Mosquitos were brutal on the hike and at the lake so plan on taking some form of repellant. We used spray and the sweating caused it to wear off quite quickly. Despite the bites I will be visiting Mink Lake again in the near future with our son.

4 months ago