three sisters
Current Conditions

Trail Report: July 24

By on July 24, 2017

It’s a Mixed Bag this Week

We haven’t received much news in the last week—but no news can be good news! As summer wears on, trail conditions continue improving—snow is replaced by wildflowers, streams and springs flow nicely and trail crews work to clear the path for us. Of note this week is a new trail closure in Crater Lake Nat’l Park (see Closures), and the southern and central regions of the state could be in for some angry weather early this week (see Forecast). We’ve even gotten whispers that the mossies may be on the decline.

If you’re thinking about viewing next month’s solar eclipse from the somewhere on the Pacific Crest Trail, check out our new PCT Hiker Eclipse Guide. We posted info and tips for where and how to catch the best moments of the eclipse, and even offer a few suggestions for viewpoints that may help you avoid some of the crowds.

eclipse

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


Trail Conditions

SOUTHERN OREGON (Secs. 1/2, R/B) – With the exception of the stretch from Devils Peak to Crater Lake, most of this section is clear of snow; the north side of Devils Peak is still mostly snow covered. Navigating blowdown thru the Sky Lakes continues to be a challenge. There are a few trail closures/detours in Crater Lake NP (see Closures).

  • 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) – The Mt. Thielsen and Diamond Peak areas—hardest hit this last winter—continue to be a black hole regarding information. We’ve seen a few reports of hikers getting thru, but the exact conditions are questionable. Many were just leap-frogging this section, or detouring onto the OST (see note), but as summer wears on, it’s likely starting to open up; expect spotty snow and blowdown. The Three Sisters area has seen much improvement in the last couple weeks, with just intermittent snow remaining—and bugs are on the decline! The Mt. Washington area 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) – The Mt. Jefferson area is still holding a good amount of snow in the forested areas and higher elevations; expect solid snow on the north side of Park Ridge. The trail from Breitenbush Lake to Timberline Lodge is almost snow-free. There’s still some patchy snow on the higher, forested sections of Mt. Hood, then mostly clear all the way to Cascade Locks. The Eagle Creek alternate route remains closed (see Closures).

lava camp lake

Cool off from the trail by kicking back at Lava Camp Lake, near McKenzie Pass. Photo by Eli Boschetto


NOTE: There will not be a conditions update on 7/31. We’re heading to Salt Lake City for this year’s Outdoor Retailer show, then going to get in some trail time ourselves. The weekly report will return on 8/7. Please continue to keep us informed on what you’re seeing out there. Click HERE to send us an update!


Trail Closures

SECTION 2 (B) – The Annie Creek Trail, which links Mazama Village to the PCT in Crater Lake Nat’l Park, has been officially 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), you will need to walk Hwy 62 for 1 mile back to the PCT crossing. Portions of the Rim Trail are still closed due to snow and ongoing road construction; the park is recommending that PCT hikers remain on the lower official route.

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.

eagle creek fire map

Indian Creek Fire closure area, including the upper Eagle Creek Trail. Map courtesy of USFS.


Weather Forecast

This week is forecast to see some new weather roll across the Crest, with thunderstorms in the mix for southern and central Oregon thru the first half of the week. A Red Flag Warning has been issued for most southern forest areas, as NOAA is expecting lots of lightning strikes, which could be enflamed by light to moderate winds. Be vigilant if you’re out there. Avoid high peaks/ridges and open, exposed areas if a storm is nearby. If you see smoke, report it asap. Once the storms blow thru, the remainder of the week looks to be mostly sunny and pleasant. Northern regions will be mostly sunny all week.

Daytime temps for this week will continue to be moderate and comfortable across most of Oregon’s Crest, hovering mostly in the high 60s and low 70s. It will be slightly cooler in the Diamond Peak and Mt. Hood areas; slightly warmer in the McKenzie Pass region; and hot in the Columbia Gorge. Overnight temps will hover mostly in the mid-50s to low 60s across most regions. Click on the links below for detailed forecasts.


Avalanche Awareness

There is still a good amount of snow clinging to Oregon’s big peaks and high ridges. Rapidly warming temps can lubricate snowfields and send them sliding down hillsides. Check for avalanche warnings before venturing into these areas, and use caution when crossing.

Northwest Avalanche Center
Central Oregon Avalanche Association

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.


Contributors

Thanks to PCT hikers Amy, Mary, Ron and Scott 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: View of the Three Sisters from the PCT at McKenzie Pass. Photo by Eli Boschetto.

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