crater lake

Hey There, Hot Stuff!

We weren’t planning an update this week, just coming back from OR and our own hiking trip, but with some significant events affecting trail conditions and accessibility we wanted to get news out to help you get thru the current situation. Heat and fires are going to be major issues this week and going into next. Make sure you’re aware of closure areas (below), and take care to stay tanked up and well-hydrated thru the current heat wave.

whitewater smoke
Smoke from the Whitewater Fire obscures Mt. Jefferson, which is currently burning on the mountain’s northwest flank. The PCT is closed in this area. Photo courtesy of InciWeb.

Trail Conditions

The remaining snowpack is melting off rapidly with the recent—and continuing—warm weather. You may find lingering patches in shaded, high-elevation forests and on north-facing aspects, but the trail is generally clear thru most of the state now. Skirting blowdown continues to be challenging in some areas, especially the Sky Lakes Wilderness, which took a beating this last winter. The PCTA will be getting into this area later this month to start clearing some of the mess. And perhaps the best news, the mossies are starting to taper off, making hiking and camping much more nuisance-free.

Trail Closures

SECTION 2 (B) – The Spruce Lake Fire on the west side of Crater Lake Nat’l Park exploded overnight to 1,400 acres so the park has closed the PCT between Lightning Spring and Red Cone Spring (see map 1). Hikers are being diverted up to the Rim Trail to avoid the fire area; it is now clear enough to navigate without challenges.

SECTION 2 (B) – The Annie Creek Trail, which links Mazama Village to the PCT in Crater Lake Nat’l Park, has been closed for the summer due to a washed-out bridge. If you hop off the trail to hit the village (or plan to start your hike there), walk Hwy 62 for 1 mile to/from the PCT crossing.

spruce lake closure
Map 1: The Spruce Lake Fire in Crater Lake Nat’l Park has closed the PCT between the Lightning Spring Trail and Red Cone Spring. Hikers should detour onto the Rim Trail. Click map for larger version. Map courtesy of NPS.

SECTION 5 (E) – The Whitewater Fire on the northwestern flank of Mt. Jefferson has expanded to more than 1,500 acres, prompting the Forest Service to close the PCT from the Woodpecker Ridge Trail #3442 (OR mile 338; PCT mile 2,027) to Breitenbush Lake (OR mile 348; PCT mile 2,037; see map 2). Unfortunately, this 10-mile closure requires a 42-mile detour. Here is the recommended route (SOBOs can reverse):

  • Exit the PCT onto the Woodpecker Trail for 1.5 miles west to the TH.
  • Descend FR-40 4.5 miles west, then FR-2246 0.3 mile west to OR-22.
  • Walk OR-22 for 12.5 miles west to OR-46 at Detroit Lake.
  • Continue up OR-46 (Skyline Road) for 16.7 miles northeast to FR-4420.
  • Proceed on FR-4420 for 6.5 miles east to the PCT at Breitenbush Lake.
whitewater reroute
Map 2: The Whitewater Fire has closed the PCT around Mt. Jefferson. Skirt the fire area using OR-22 and OR-46 from Woodpecker Ridge to Breitenbush Lake. Click map for larger version. Map courtesy of USFS.

SECTION 6 (G) – The Indian Creek Fire in the upper Eagle Creek drainage has been contained to 74 acres. The PCT remains open, however most surrounding trails and camp areas are currently closed. The closure area (see map 3) includes the upper Eagle Creek Trail, between Wy’East Camp and the PCT, Indian Springs Trail, Eagle Benson Trail and the eastern portion of the Eagle Tanner Trail. The Wahtum Lake and Indian Springs campgrounds are closed. PCT hikers should stick with the official route over the Benson Plateau.

indian creek fire
Map 3: The Indian Creek Fire remains contained and the PCT open, however the surrounding trails and camp areas have been closed. Click map for larger version. Map courtesy of USFS.

Weather Forecast

This week, and moving into next week, is looking to be hot, with excessive heat advisories for all valleys and lower-elevation areas. Daytime temps along the Crest won’t be as bad, but still quite warm. Forecasts thru the weekend are looking for daytime highs mostly in the mid-80s. It will be slightly cooler in the Diamond Peak and Mt. Hood areas; warmer in the McKenzie Pass region; and hot—over 100—in the Columbia Gorge. Overnight temps will hover mostly around 60 across most regions. Temps will taper off by 5–10 degrees heading into the weekend. Southern areas may also see scattered thunderstorms for the next couple days, and central areas will see smoke and haze due to the current fires. Click on the links below for detailed forecasts.

[column-group] [column]
Mt. Ashland
Fish Lake
Crater Lake
[/column] [column]
Willamette Pass
Elk Lake Resort
Santiam Pass
[/column] [column]
Frog Lake
Timberline Lodge
Cascade Locks
[/column] [/column-group]

2017 Solar Eclipse

If you’re thinking about viewing next month’s solar eclipse from the somewhere on the PCT, check out our Eclipse Guide. You’ll find info and tips for where and how to catch the best moments of the eclipse, with a few suggestions for viewpoints that may help you avoid some of the crowds.

On August 21, a full solar eclipse will blanket the PCT from Santiam Pass to Timothy Lake. Photo by Kurt Kulac.

Road Conditions

All highways and secondary roads accessing the PCT’s primary trailheads are open and clear.

• Crater Lake National Park – All park roads are open, however the West Rim Road is undergoing construction; the park closes the road from 9pm to 7am Sun thru Thurs. All park facilities are open.

• Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway (OR-46) – Road is open and trailheads are clear.

• McKenzie Pass Hwy (OR-242) – Road is open and trailheads are clear; Lava Camp Lake is open.

Check Oregon’s road conditions at ODOT.


Our thru-hiker friend Alexa has just arrived in Oregon! She’ll be sending us trail conditions updates as she treks across the state. We’ll be sharing her info soon!

Have you been out on the PCT in Oregon and have trail info to share? Send us an email with your update and a photo and we’ll get your news in the next report. Your fellow hikers will thank you!

The information on this page is collected from a variety of sources, including NOAA, ODOT, SNOTEL, PCTA, PCT Water and the U.S. Forest Service. For more information on PCT Conditions in Oregon CLICK HERE. This page will be updated on a weekly basis during the summer hiking season.

Main photo: An idyllic, summertime view of Crater Lake from the Rim Trail. Photo courtesy of NPS.

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