Trail Report: July 17
Things are Looking Up!
We’re four weeks into summer, and we’re seeing some steady improvement in trail conditions across most of the state. While it seems like this season is taking a loooooooonnnnnggg time for the trail to melt out, we need to remember that this is actually normal for Oregon. We got spoiled the last few years with mild winters and below-average snowpacks that let us hit the trail in May and June. But if things keep up the way they are, we should have a mostly snow-free trail in the next few weeks.
Of course, there’s still plenty of blowdown thru most sections of the state. The PCTA and local trail volunteers have been diligently getting out into these areas to clear some of the mess. Be prepared to do a little scrambling and bushwhacking in areas they haven’t yet gotten into. And beware of the mosquitoes—they’re positively murderous right now. On the bright side, in areas where the trail is melted out, reports have been coming in that the wildflowers are going absolutely gangbusters right now!
SOUTHERN OREGON (Secs. 1/2, R/B) – The Siskiyou Mountains and Soda Mountain Wilderness is clear all the way to Fish Lake. The southern portion of the Sky Lakes Wilderness is clear of snow, but expect lots of blowdown and mosquitoes; the northern portion, from Devils Peak into Crater Lake Nat’l Park still has some significant snow cover. The Rim Trail is not fully open yet; the park is recommending hikers use Rim Road as an alternate, or stick with the lower horse trail. North of the rim, the way thru the Pumice Desert is clear to OR-138.
- WATER NOTE: The Rogue–Siskiyou Nat’l Forest was informed again about the missing handle on the well at Brown Mtn Shelter. We’ll keep you posted.
CENTRAL OREGON (Secs. 3/4, C/D/E) – We’ve gotten a few reports in the last week from the central sections, and things are looking up. There’s lingering snow on the high and north slopes thru the Mt. Thielsen area for some tricky navigation; lots of blowdown. Many hikers are detouring onto the Oregon Skyline Trail to bypass the Diamond Peak wilderness (see note below). The trail is mostly clear from Willamette Pass thru Elk Lake. After that, expect patchy snow and some route-finding thru the Three Sisters area. The trail between McKenzie Pass and Santiam Pass is mostly clear.
- SHUTTLE ASSIST: Diamond Lake Resort (just north of Crater Lake Nat’l Park) is offering PCT hikers free shuttle service between the North Crater TH and the resort, and between the resort and Windigo Pass. At Windigo Pass, hikers can detour onto the Oregon Skyline Trail to bypass the snow-covered Diamond Peak area. North Crater pickups are at 10am and 2pm; Windigo Pass service is available upon request. Call 541-793-3333, ext. 1, to request service.
NORTHERN OREGON (Secs. 5/6, E/F/G) – From Santiam Pass, there continues to be spotty snow cover thru the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness to Olallie Lake. The trail thru the Warm Springs Reservation area is clear to Barlow Pass, but forested snow returns up to Timberline Lodge. The trail around Mt. Hood is almost clear, except for some lingering snow in forested areas; lots of blowdown. The Zigzag and Sandy rivers are still running very high; use caution. The trail from Lolo Pass to Cascade Locks is mostly clear. The Eagle Creek alternate route remains closed (see below).
Got PCT conditions info to share? Click HERE to send us an update!
SECTION 6 (G) – The upper Eagle Creek Trail alternate route remains closed due to ongoing management of the Indian Creek Fire. The closure area (see map) 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 PCT and Wahtum Lake remain open. PCT hikers should stick with the official route over the Benson Plateau. Visit Columbia River Gorge NSA for more info.
The weather across Oregon’s Crest is forecast to remain pleasant, albeit a little cooler thru the next week, with plenty of sun, but also a few more clouds than last week. Daytime temps will be mild in the low to mid-60s thru most areas; a little cooler in the Diamond Peak and Mt. Hood regions, and a little warmer in the McKenzie Pass region. Overnight temps will hover mostly in the mid- to upper 40s. The Gorge will continue being the warmest area, with temps in the low 80s. Click on the locations below for local forecasts.
There is still plenty of snow in the upper reaches of Oregon’s big peaks. Rapidly warming temps can lubricate snowfields and send them sliding down hillsides. If you’re planning to hike near snowy peaks or high passes, check for avalanche warnings before heading out.
All highways and secondary roads accessing the PCT’s primary trailheads are open and clear.
• Crater Lake National Park – All park roads are open, with the exception of East Rim Drive, between the Steel Visitor Center and Skell Head (southeast section), which remains closed due to snow. 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.
Thanks to PCT hikers Alysha, Amy, Kirsten and Sara for their trail reports!
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: The PCT crossing the Wickiup Plain, south of South Sister. Photo by Kirsten Damler.