TRAIL CONDITIONS: 8.01.18
It's Prime Time forPCT Hiking in Oregon
As we approach the middle of summer, it’s a great time for hiking the PCT in Oregon. Wildflowers are going crazy, water sources are still (mostly) plentiful, weather is mild and sunny, bugs are on the decline, and—knocking wood—the entire trail thru Oregon is open and wildfire-free.* Following our 3-week survey of the southern and central regions of the state, we’ll be working up some detailed updates on trail conditions and changes to supplement the PCT: OR guidebook. Look for those to come soon. In the meantime, here’s the latest on conditions across the state. Happy hiking!
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Latest Trail News
RELIEF IS IN SIGHT!
July on the PCT was absolutely miserable due to the gazillions of mosquitoes plaguing Oregon’s forests and lake basins. We met several hikers—including thru-hikers—who were so frustrated by the incessant buggers that they had to bail off the trail to preserve their sanity. The good news is that the little @#$%&s are finally on the decline and the trail environment is becoming more tolerable. As summer wears on, they will continue to diminish and we can look forward to peaceful, unmolested trekking.
This week, temps across Oregon’s Crest will be easing off a bit. Look for daytime highs to start dipping thru the 60s and into the 50s by the end of the week; overnights will be chilly heading into the 40s. Skies will be mostly sunny in most regions, except for the southern regions where several wildfires are contributing to smokey and hazy conditions. Next week, temps will start inching back up into the 70s. For area-specific weather reports, click on over to our conditions page and click on the weather icons to search for the latest regional forecasts.
Creeks, Springs & Lakes: Most of these water sources remain reliable, with the best options at any of the larger lakes and ponds on or near the trail. Most springs and smaller creeks have some water, though recent reports indicate that these are beginning to dwindle. Honeymoon Creek is dry (HM 1802.1); Six Horse Spring is a trickle, so proceed below the stagnant pools (HM 1872.1+0.5).
Pumps & Faucets: The pump at Brown Mtn Shelter has been fixed and is usable (HM 1763.3). The faucet at Hyatt Lake has been turned off (HM 1742.8). Click here for the full Oregon Water Report.
Water Caches: Hiker reports as recent as last week indicate that caches at Red Cone TH (CLNP; HM 1839.2), Thielsen Wilderness Boundary (HM 1848.4), and Windigo Pass (HM 1878.3) still have water available. This could change at any time depending on the number of hikers passing thru. It’s best not to rely on caches and be prepared by carrying a little extra.
There are several wildfires burning near the PCT in southern Oregon, but no closures are currently in effect. A few small closures were enacted last month, but those have been lifted. Currently, the entire PCT thru Oregon is open and hikeable, with the exception of a short section in CLNP; see below. For the latest up-to-date fire info in Oregon, visit InciWeb.
ROADS & TRAILHEADS
All major roads and highways accessing the PCT in Oregon are open.
TRAIL ALERTS & CLOSURES
Hikers should continue to expect above-average blowdown in many areas along the Crest, especially in recently burned areas. Trail crews are tackling as much as they can, but in wilderness areas where work has to be done by hand, it can be slow going. The Forest Service recommends that hikers not loiter or camp in burn areas, and avoid hiking thru these areas if high winds are occurring.
ALERT: PCT from north Sky Lakes Wilderness to south CLNP. (PCT: OR: Sec. 2 miles 33–44; HM: 1807–1818) This area was heavily damaged from last year’s Blanket Creek Fire, with significant portions of the trail destroyed and lots of downed trees and debris. Several hikers have reported getting lost in this area. Use a map and compass or GPS to navigate and help you stay on track.
CLOSED: PCT from Bybee Camp to Bald Crater Loop* in Crater Lake National Park. (PCT: OR: Sec. 2, miles 55–60; HM: C10–C11, miles 1829–1834) Hikers can use the Rim Trail alternate route.
CLOSED: Whitewater Creek Trail in Mt. Jefferson Wilderness. This trail connects the PCT with a trailhead on the west side of the Crest. Hikers can use the Woodpecker or Pamelia Lake trails as alternates.
ALERT: PCT from Indian Springs to Cascade Locks in Mt. Hood Forest and Columbia River Gorge. (PCT: OR: Sec. 6, miles 31–50; HM: G5–G8, miles 2128–2147) The Forest Service has implemented a 25-foot buffer zone thru this area that was burned in the Eagle Creek fire last year. Hikers must stay within 25 feet of the trail for all camping and toilet use. More info here.
CLOSED: Eagle Creek Trail in Columbia River Gorge. This popular alternate route from Indian Springs/Wahtum Lake to Cascade Locks remains indefinitely closed. Hikers should stick with the official PCT, or use the Herman Creek Trail as an alternate-alternate route.
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Are you weekend, section- or thru-hiking any of the PCT in Oregon? If you are, send us an email with info and a few photos on what you’re seeing out there. We’ll share your news with fellow PCT hikers so we can all stay safe and in-the-know.