Pamelia Lake Trail

MODERATE 44 reviews
#14 of 119 trails in

Pamelia Lake Trail is a 4.4 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Idanha, Oregon that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

4.4 miles
784 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash




horseback riding

nature trips

trail running






wild flowers


To get here take Hwy 22 63 miles east of Salem/I-5. Turn left on Pamelia Road and keep right at all forks. You will hit the parking area in about 4 miles.

1 month ago

What a great hike ,,thanks to Nicole and kujo..I had a great trip with them ,,beautiful Oregon, ,

1 month ago

Good trail. Very family friendly. There is a gradual grade but nothing too crazy. Snow still dots the ground past the lake. Official camp sites seemed crowded.

1 month ago

went 4/22, still a decent amount of snow on the trail. Gaiters needed, but no snow shoes to reach the lake. some clearing to set up a tent on the shore.

4 months ago

Great for families and their first-time backpacking trips

8 months ago

Hard to beat this hike through the wilderness forest. The first mile was clear; the upper portion had a fair bit of snow on it from this year's early snowfall. The lake was beautiful. And went beyond the lake to the PCT, as far as Moon Creek, which is right at the base of Mt. Jefferson--stunning!

10 months ago

Unsure of why exactly this trail is rated as difficult, the hike leading to Pamelia Lake specifically is pretty laid back. This was my first solo day-hike, maybe it's difficult with backpacking gear. Elevation gain is very minimal and spread nicely throughout the ~2.5 miles to the destination. Maybe I just went at a good time in the season. I did this beautiful hike 2 days ago after learning that the Whitewater trailhead to Jefferson was blocked off due to a fire. Evidence of that fire was definitely clear, I could smell smoke during the hike and I could see it like hazy fog over the lake/surrounding mountains. Pamelia lake is so relaxing, I didn't get the chance to do the Grizzly Peak or Hunt's Creek trailheads but I will definitely be back soon with my friends! Lots of butterflies.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Took a Saturday and went up there. Hiking was great however fishing not so much. Hard to gain access to lake because of thick and down vegetation. Based on pictures looks like lake was high and is usually lower than what we experienced. Those who have a small raft or waders may have a better shot. Spoke with local who had been coming up there for many many years and said lake is not stocked therefore fish populations declining rapidly.
Overalls awesome hike and scenery but bummer on the fishing

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The road off 22 to get the to the trailhead was in much better shape than expected. Great, relaxing hike. Forest Ranger was roping off sections of the Lake to allow for habitat restoration. Hike only had snow the last 1/2 mile or so to the lake, hardback, minimal post-holing.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Beautiful hike even with the bit of snow still left in the trail. Highly recommended for families.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

About 75% of the trail still has snow, makes it a little harder walking, but certainly manageable. Especially on a clear sunny day like today when I was dying for the view at Pamelia Lake. It was stunning!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Easy hike- just did this on 11/17- the snow on the trees was incredible!!

Monday, October 10, 2016

We hiked in 10/09/2016 and added Grizzly Peak - both are well maintained, low-traffic trails. The reason I'm giving two stars are the BEES - we had 6 people and everyone (including the dogs) got stung 2 or more times, and this was over the course of the entire hike. If you go just take precaution!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The hike was GREAT!

However the warned of the fact that you need to have a permit only available in advance from additionally you have to get a parking permit in advance as well.

This is a limited entry area (fines up to $250)

All that is stuff I wish I had known before going up there.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Loved the old forest. Easy trail to Pamelia Lake. In 2015 the lake was dried up and surrounded by the mud left behind, but still enjoyed the hike.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

A great hike with my dog.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Pamelia Lake water level is low but enjoyable. Only stopped for 20 mins before pushing on. The last 2.5 miles to Hunts Cove is very steep and slow. Trail is getting over grown through the upper portions. Stayed at Hunts Lake for 2 nights because the fishing was better than Hanks Lake.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

This was my second trip to Pameila Lake. The first was 40 years ago. The trail was pretty much what I remembered and is an easy hike up to the lake. The creek was flowing pretty good, but when I got to the lake I was shocked. It could have been called Pameila Bog instead I guess that's what happens after a year with no snow and not that much rain. Still a great hike. Remember your permit as we did get checked on the way in.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Nice, easy hike. Uphill on the way in. We went in March when it was supposed to be snowed in, but since we have no snow this year, it was clear. A little bit of ice at the lake though.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Chose Pamelia Lake for our Memorial backpacking trip since we didn't want to get hindered by snow at some of the other trails in the Cascades. Nice hike up and a great view from our site (2). Lots of foot traffic through it though. Tried to hike up toward Hunts, but stopped at an unbridged crossing of Hunts Creek since the water was running pretty swift and high. Nice hike from Pamelia to there though with tons of little creeks and waterfalls to cross, worth the little excursion. Other hikers said there was snow not too much further up after the crossing. Easy trip to start getting ready for backpacking season but don't forget your NW Forest pass and online permit - ranger came around checking.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

An easy hike to Pamelia Lake, but quite a bit more rigorous up to Hunts Cove. The views of Jefferson are excellent from the lake, there's easy access to the PCT, and the fishing is outstanding in Spring after the ice clears. Also there are some of the biggest Rhododendrons I've ever seen. 20' tall giants, which are spectacular in bloom.

Monday, September 09, 2013

this was an easy hike, but very pretty. great view of mount Jefferson . I didn't get a chance to do the hunts cove portion of the hike. spoke to some backpackers who said that it was awesome up there. so I will go back for that part of it.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Took my daughter on their first backpacking trip along this trail this weekend. Took some time getting to the lake (we earned the newbie title- oh boy!) but once we arrived it took no time to scout out a designated camp site and set up camp.

Attempted to fish, although I wouldn't recommend it. The sights, sounds and smells are amazing here. More foot traffic than I prefer but met some very nice people as they walked through our campsite (the trail). Would have like to make it to the old growth forest but our inexperience didn't leave much room for that.

There is another trip here in my near future. I will be leaving the 2.5 gallon jug of water in my car next time. (_)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

My husband and I did a short backpacking trip in mid October of 2012 for our anniversary. Our intention was to go into Pamelia and make the Shale Lake/Hunt's Cove Loop in a couple of days. We ended up only doing an in and back overnighter to Shale Lake (since our tent sprang a leak in the middle of the night and a lot of our gear ended up soggy and heavy). The weather had been perfect the weekend before (when of course we couldn't go...) but was pretty dreary after about mid day on Friday the weekend we went - sporadic showers during the day and torrential rain at night. (I believe this would be a 5 star in my book if not for the crummy weather experience and lack of visibility from most of the viewpoints. I live for view...)

The trail is really lovely through the woods and an easy walk from the TH to Pamelia Lake. The lake's surrounding scenery, with close up views of Mt Jefferson, is gorgeous - especially on a nice clear day. However, standing on the lake's shore is not my favorite way to experience it. I'ld much rather be up at one of the viewpoints along the PCT between there and Shale Lake, taking in the scenery below and the view of the other peaks. The route we intended to take is a 17 mile loop with 2900' of elevation gain - Pamelia Lake / Mud Hole / Shale Lake / Hunt's Cove / Pamelia. There is some elevation gain between the TH and Pamelia, but not much. The majority is in the stretch between Pamelia to the Mud Hole/Shale Lake areas - approximately 4 miles. However, it's a fairly gradual gain with plenty of switchbacks winding along the hillside. We had our beagle mix mutt with us and, while it tired him out (which is next to impossible), a day of hiking this trail/7 miles didn't mean he couldn't play some fetch at camp.

The rise between Mud Hole Lake and Shale Lake looks to be an idea camp spot but we camped shy of there due to falling dark. After dark a group of hikers came through still trying to reach the lake before setting up camp. (Their itinerary was to scale the South side of Mt. Jefferson the next day.) Luckily they were well equipped and even had an altimeter with them so they had a good idea of the distance still left until the lake. These were the only people that we had seen all day and it made us feel a bit better that they admitted that it seemed like the trail map provided by the Detroit Ranger Station (with their permit for Pamelia) didn't seem to accurately match the actual trail experience. (The only way they had satisfied their "Where the &%$# is that lake?!" feeling that we had also had, was with the altimeter.)

We look forward to going back and completing this hike in better weather. The views will be spectacular from the PCT down into Pamelia Lake & the coves. We didn't plan on taking any of the side trips to Grizzly Peak, etc on this trip - but the photos I've seen lead me to believe these would be a worthwhile addition to the agenda if I planned on being in this area for a few days.

(My current profile picture is candid, from waking up that morning and realizing everything was soaked. #thankshusband...)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Lake was beautiful. Well worth the hike. Trail was easy. lot of fun.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Super easy, flat trail. Perfect for beginning/casual backpackers or hikers. There's good scenery along the way as you hike near a creek and as you come up to the lake. It's flat up to and around the lake. I chose to continue up to Hunts and Hanks lakes (Stayed for 3 days and an extra 3.xx miles each way). It's a GREAT hike up there! 1 stream crossing some LONG switchbacks but fantastic scenery (streams, waterfalls, views of the Cascades, etc.) and some great resting points to enjoy a snack at. If you plan on fishing be sure to go early July. The lakes had just barely broken the ice on top when I got there.

At Pamelia Lake we only ran into one other group of people and they were nice and respectful. There's plenty of room for multiple groups at the lake though. The fishing here wasn't very good. I had a couple bites and that's about it. It could have been I tried too long after the hatch because Hunts and Hanks didn't provide either! The trail gets a little dusty sometimes and you need to pay attention to where you step in spots as there are some roots sticking up into the trail (don't trip).

It's a great trail and a lot of fun!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Level, easy, basically a walk. ore than a hike. The lake is beautiful. Would like to go back in winter and snowshoe it. Well maintained trail

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The trail to Pamelia lake was relatively flat and not difficult. Hiked around the lake was just as flat. You have to walk through people's camp sites to find the trail though. Great place to camp since you have to hike in approximately 2.5 miles in to get to the campsites. Beautiful lake though. We were not able to complete the full loop due to snow. The full loop AROUND the whole trail was more than the 5 miles it states here. It's 2.5 miles to get to the lake and of course, 2.5 miles to head back to the parking area. I gave it a 4 stars because of the beautiful lake.

23 days ago

1 month ago

Load More