Photos of Pacific Crest Trail and Maiden Peak Trail Loop

Distance: 14.0 miles Elevation Gain: 1,833 feet Route Type: Loop

backpacking

hiking

trail running

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lake

river

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hiking
1 month ago

I hiked this loop in early July; I parked at the PCT trailhead right off Willamette pass and walked the loop counterclockwise. Here are a few observations about my hike: TRAILHEADS: The easiest option is to park at the PCT trailhead right off and on the north side.of OR 58. Should the lot be full, there is ample space on the south side of OR58 using the turn off to Shelter Cove and turning immediately to the right. Another option can be to park at the Gold Lake campground to start at the lowest point of the loop (there might however be some red-tape/fee to contend with there). SCENIC APPEAL: I gave this route 5 stars as it combines quite a few of the "gems" I am looking for when heading out on a trail: easy access, lakes, healthy forests, views (maybe only a B on this one), good places to snack/lunch/camp, several options to extend/shorten the hike if needed, etc. A less common "find" is the beautiful Maiden Peak shelter that is definitely worth visiting (LNT! LNT!....) TRAIL PROFILE: Half of the hike is on the PCT and therefore on a path that is well maintained, well graded, easy to follow. The other half (Maiden Peak trail, Marilyn Lakes trail, return via OR58) is certainly a bit of a step down for a variety of reasons. The descent towards Gold Lake starts a bit steep before leveling some; it is not bad however -- it is just that the PCT spoils us! The traverse from Gold Lake though the Marilyn lakes and back to NFR 500 and OR58 was the low point of the hike (and not just from an elevation perspective). The lakes are pretty enough... but the trail was overgrown in may place (to the point of being lost) and quite muddy/waterlogged too. I had to use GPS to get back on track. If you want to avoid that little obstacle course you can just head back to OR 58 following the forest road. The return on OR 58 was what one would expect walking along a busy highway...but it only lasted about a mile with ample space on the shoulder. There are no steep portions on the whole loop (going counterclockwise), thanks again to the PCT.There are a few semi exposed portions (after Rosary lakes and to the Maiden Peak trail) and, of course, the walk back alongside OR 58 is in full sun (if sun there is that day...). TRAFFIC: Rosary Lakes is a very popular camping spot, and six miles of the loop are on the PCT. This should guarantee medium to slightly heavy traffic on many days. I only met one party (bikers!) on the Maiden Peak trail portion... and no one on the Marilyn Lakes portion.

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