Current Conditions

Signs of Summer

By on May 29, 2017

At long last, skies have been clearing and temps have been warming in the Northwest. But while we continue to march toward summer, winter conditions persist along most of the Crest thru Oregon. In the last week, we’ve been scouting the passes and checking in with regional land managers for current trail conditions, and while there’s signs of improvement, we’re probably still at least another month away from clear trail and easy access.

Be prepared for a variety of difficult conditions—deep snow, excessive blowdown, high creeks—and use extreme caution. (See Trail Conditions for more info.) If you’re not familiar with winter travel and backcountry navigation, consider alternate hiking destinations until more favorable conditions return. If you’re planning on venturing out, be familiar with winter hiking skills, and check out our reviews on traction devices and rain shells.

We will continue to monitor conditions over the next month and report improvements. Weekly trail conditions updates will resume in July.


Weather

Temps across Oregon have been warming in recent weeks, helping melt off the abundance of snow on the Crest. The next week however, will see cooling temps thru most regions, with possible rain and thunder showers in the early portion of the week. Skies are expected to clear later in the week, but with temps remaining mostly cool and mild across the Crest. Evenings along most of the Crest will hover just above freezing. Click on the links below for regional forecasts.


Deep snow persists on the PCT at Barlow Pass, south of Mt. Hood. Photo from 5/24/17.

Trail Conditions

• Southern Oregon – Low- and mid-elevation areas around Siskiyou Pass are beginning to melt out and there are several miles of snow-free trail. Higher elevations around Siskiyou PeakMt. McLoughlin, Sky Lakes Wilderness and Crater Lake Nat’l Park remain buried under snow. There are also reports of excessive blowdown (downed trees) in the Sky Lakes and Mt. Thielsen wilderness areas.

• Central Oregon – The Diamond Peak and Three Sisters wilderness areas are still under several feet of snow, and are largely inaccessible with area roads still closed (see below). The trail around Santiam Pass, in the exposed B&B Burn area, is melting out (see photo) with several miles of mostly-clear trail. The snowline resumes around Three-Fingered Jack and continues thru the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness to Olallie Lake.

• Northern Oregon – Spotty snow remains thru some of the Warm Springs Reservation area, with the trail clearing around Timothy Lake. The snowline returns near Wapinitia Pass, increasing in depth thru Barlow Pass and on up to Timberline Lodge. The trail around Mt. Hood is still completely buried, and conditions persist thru the Benson Plateau. There are several miles of clear trail out of Cascade Locks.


Avalanches

Springtime is when avalanches occur more frequently with sudden warming conditions. If you’re planning on exploring the backcountry this spring where slopes and trails are still under several feet of snow, check for avalanche warnings in the area.

Northwest Avalanche Center
Central Oregon Avalanche Association

The Cascade Lakes Highway, still under several feet of snow. Photo from 5/25/17.

Trail/Road Closures

The main highways crossing the Cascades are all clear and snow-free, but most of the smaller forest roads will remain inaccessible until summer.

• Crater Lake National Park – The southern entrance road, Steel Visitor Center and Rim Village Cafe are open, but with limited hours. All other park roads, facilities and campgrounds are closed until summer.

• Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway (OR-46) – ODOT is expecting to start clearing this highway by early June. Currently, the road is still closed at Mt. Bachelor. All trailheads in the area are still buried under snow.

• McKenzie Pass Hwy (OR-242) – Based on current conditions, ODOT does not yet have a definitive opening date for this highway, currently estimating late June or early July.

Check Oregon’s road conditions at ODOT.


Contributors

PCT: Oregon is looking for Oregon PCT hikers to help contribute trail conditions information to this site for the summer 2017 hiking season. If you’re interested in helping out your fellow PCT hikers by sharing news, photos and info on trail conditions in your area, please contact site admin here. 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.

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