thielsen
Current Conditions

Trail Report: September 11

By on September 11, 2017

Bring On the Rain!

It’s not often we find ourselves asking for rain, always wanting to draw out the hiking season for as long as possible. But with the number of ongoing wildfires burning across Oregon impacting the PCT and so many of our favorite trails, we’ll take the rain. At this point, we’re changing up the format of our conditions reports. There’s simply too many fires to list, too many closures, and too many rapidly changing conditions, that we just can’t keep up.

Below you will find a new section that lists OPEN segments of the PCT. The Wildfires list is now an abridged section with basic info and links to the appropriate resources with all the details. If you’re hiking, or thinking about hiking, any areas near a wildfire area, please check these resources for the latest info. The last weekly update for the season will be Oct. 2. Off-season trail news and updates will be posted on PCT: Oregon’s Facebook page.


UPDATE NOTICE: There will not be a weekly update posted on Sept. 18. Trail updates may be posted via Facebook over the next two weeks when we’re able. Otherwise, please use the links below to keep up with any changes or updates via the individual forest agencies. The next update will be on Sept. 25.


summit lake

Summit Lake, in the Diamond Peak Wilderness, is one of the few areas hikers can still access on the PCT in Oregon. Photo by Alexa “Rise” McRoberts.

Open Trail

Siskiyou Pass to Fish Lake (Sec. 1/B; OR miles 28–82; PCT miles 1,717–1,771)
Start at the PCT trailhead on Old Hwy 99 and hike north thru the Rogue–Siskiyou Nat’l Monument and Soda Mtn Wilderness. Bag Soda Mtn for some good views, visit Hyatt Lake and chill out, then check out the lava beds and red cinder trail around Brown Mtn. Finish at Hwy 140.

The PCT is closed thru the Sky Lakes Wilderness and Crater Lake Nat’l Park.

Cascade Crest to Willamette Pass (Sec. 3/D; OR miles 156–216; PCT miles 1,845–1,905)
Start at the North Crater trailhead at Hwy 138 and hike north thru the Mt. Thielsen and Diamond Peak wilderness areas. Enjoy spectacular mountain scenery and picturesque lakes, then finish at Odell Lake near Hwy 58. Want more? Make it a lollipop by incorporating the Oregon Skyline Trail.

The PCT is closed thru the Three Sisters, Mt. Washington and Mt. Jefferson areas.

Timothy Lake to Lolo Pass (Sec. 5/TK; OR miles 382–423; PCT miles 2,071–2,112)
Start at the trailhead near Timothy Lake at FR-42 and hike north to Timberline Lodge, then around the west side of Mt. Hood. Take in big mountain views and tons of sweet, juicy berries, then finish at Lolo Pass Road. Want more? Make it a lollipop by incorporating the Timberline Trail.

The PCT is closed from Lolo Pass thru Cascade Locks.


Weather Forecast

Temps are diving this week. In southern and central regions, daytime temps start the week in the low and mid 70s and drop thru the week to the high 40s and low 50s; overnights will plunge the same, down to 30 in some areas. Northern regions will see a similar pattern, with daytime temps starting in the low 70s and dropping down to the mid 40s. All areas will rebound about 10 degrees going into next weekend.

Weather conditions will be mostly sunny this week, however there are smoke advisories across all regions of the state. The southern and central regions may see a slight chance at showers and thunderstorms around midweek, and northern regions may see a chance of showers near the weekend. Visit AirNow for Oregon’s latest air quality forecasts.

Click on the links below for detailed forecasts.


spruce lake fire

The Spruce Lake Fire, part of the High Cascades Complex, continues to burn on the west side of Crater Lake Nat’l Park. View from Crater Lake’s West Rim Drive. Photo courtesy of InciWeb.

Wildfires

The following wildfires are currently impacting the Pacific Crest Trail in Oregon. Fires are listed south to north. Click on the links below for detailed info and closure areas. You can also visit the InciWeb for the latest info on fire conditions and information.


MILLER COMPLEX – Rogue–Siskiyou Nat’l Forest
This cluster of fires is burning near the California–Oregon border, west of the PCT. The closure area includes the west access to the PCT at Donomore Pass via FR-20.


NORTH PELICAN, HIGH CASCADES COMPLEX – Sky Lakes, Crater Lake NP
These three fires are burning east and west of the PCT, for a combined area of 76,000 acres. Some Crater Lake facilities remain open, however trails and roads are closed.

The PCT is closed from Hwy 140 to Hwy 138 (OR miles 82–156; PCT miles 1,771–1,845)


HORSE CREEK COMPLEX, MILLI FIRE – Three Sisters Wilderness
Numerous fires continue to burn on both sides of the Crest in this region, for a combined area of 60,0oo acres. Hikers should avoid the area entirely.

The PCT is closed from Irish Lake to Big Lake (OR miles 239–305; PCT miles 1,929–1,995)


WHITEWATER FIRE – Mt. Jefferson Wilderness
Now multiple fires, this blaze continues burning near the PCT on the south and west sides of Mt. Jefferson. At 13,000 acres, most of the wilderness is closed.

The PCT is closed from Minto Pass to Breitenbush Lake (OR miles 320–348; PCT miles 2,009–2,037)


EAGLE CREEK FIRE – Columbia River Gorge
At more than 33,000 acres, this fire has become a national top priority. The fire is now moving southeastward toward Mt. Hood. Air quality in the area is bad.

 

The PCT is closed from Lolo Pass to Cascade Locks (OR miles 423–455; PCT miles 2,112–2,144)


CAMPFIRES: Most forest agencies have put a complete ban on all campfires—including in developed campgrounds. Hikers are still permitted to use contained-gas stoves for cooking, but extreme caution should be taken to avoid any accidents.


As the season wears on, water sources become fewer and farther between. Know where you can tank up to stay hydrated and get you down the miles.

Water Update

Most water sources in open locations are still pretty reliable. Below are a few sources to take note of and plan accordingly.

Brown Mtn Shelter (OR mile 72; PCT mile 1761) — Pump handle has not been replaced; do not count on water here.

Six Horse Spring (OR mile 181; PCT mile 1,870) — Water is best from lower pools.

Lemiti Creek (OR mile 363; PCT mile 2052) — Not reliable; use Trooper Spring 1 mile north.

You can get the full water conditions update at the PCT Water Report.


Road Conditions

The following roads access primary or secondary PCT trailheads. Most secondary and Forest Roads (FR) are not open and/or maintained during the winter season. Listed south to north.

Beaver Creek Road (FR-20) – Closed for 1 mile east of junction with Upper Applegate Road due to Miller Complex Fire. The Donomore Pass trailhead can be accessed via Mt. Ashland Ski Road/FR-20 from I-5; high-clearance vehicle recommended.

Crater Lake National Park – The North Entrance and West Rim roads are closed. Park facilities are open, however Mazama Village is under a potential evacuation warning.

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

McKenzie Pass Hwy (OR-242) – Road is closed between Hwy 126 and Sisters; McKenzie Pass is not accessible.

FR-4220 – Road is closed between FR-46 and Breitenbush Lake; this is no longer a viable detour around the Whitewater Fire. Use I-97 and I-26 to access points south and north.

I-84 – Closed between Troutdale and Hood River due to the Eagle Creek Fire.

Check Oregon’s road conditions at ODOT.


Events

Join us this week at 10 Barrel Brewing in Bend for the Skout Backcountry Adventure Film Fest. Come out for a brew and some awesome outdoor films. Check in with local outdoor gear orgs and brands, and stop by our booth for the latest info on the PCT. See you there!

When: Wednesday, Sept. 13, 7:00 pm

Where: 10 Barrel Brewing, 62950 NE 18th St, Bend, OR 97701

 


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 approaching Mt. Thielsen. Photo by Eli Boschetto.

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