May 13, 2011 at 10:53 am #1273759
@rbeardLocale: ATL, Southern Appalachia
nothing technical for this leisurely Appalachian hiker, but wouldn't mind some elevation and/or alpine lakes. any good recommendations or areas we should check out that aren't to far <2hours from Portland? we only have one car, so loops or trails with good shuttle options needed. Trip is planned for late july, so i'm guessing most of the snow will be melted and maybe we can see some cool stuff that i dont normally see down south.
Thanks in advance!May 13, 2011 at 12:12 pm #1736203
@hikinggrannyLocale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Check in the Field Guide for trips that might interest you (maybe start with the "Must See" trips for ideas). The Field Guide is mostly dayhikes, but you can string several together for a backpack. Close to the start of your trip, check the Trip Reports section of the Forum for current conditions.
One idea–you could easily spend three days doing part of the Timberline Trail (plus sidetrips) on the north side of Mt. Hood, combining Vista Ridge, Elk Cove, Barrett Spur, Cairn Basin/Eden Park, McNeil Point. That assumes enough snow will have melted by late July. This might be the year it doesn't happen, but it's too soon to know. Think warm for the next 2 1/2 months!
If the snow doesn't melt, then there are several possibilities in the Columbia River Gorge. Eagle Creek to Wahtum Lake, returning via the PCT and Ruckel Creek trails, would be a possibility. If you reach Portland in the midst of one of its occasional hot spells, though, the lower elevation part could be miserable in the afternoons.
You don't mention your usual daily mileage, which would be helpful in recommending trips. It would be helpful to know if your idea of a day is 5-7 miles, 15-20 miles or somewhere in between!May 14, 2011 at 3:06 am #1736437
@rbeardLocale: ATL, Southern Appalachia
thanks. im more 5-10 miles with elevation. nuthin too serious.May 16, 2011 at 2:59 am #1737085
Jefferson Park in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness Area is a great hike. Real popular in the summer, especially on weekends.
Several trails provide access to Jefferson Park. Breitenbush trail head at Breitenbush Lake(rough road) and Whitewater trail head (good road) are two of the more popular starting points.
Quickest route into the Park is probably from Whitewater trail head — about 5 or 6 miles one way. Uphill going in, downhill coming out. Here's a link to an article describing the Whitewater trail head approach:
The article at the above link gives driving directions to reach the Whitewater trail head from Salem (about 70 miles, with the last 7 miles on a Forest Service road).
Salem is about 50 miles south of Portland, 60 miles or so from Portland International Airport. Total drive time from Portland would probably be about 2 or 2 1/2 hours to the trail head.
There's a Forest Service campground (maybe two of them) on the Santiam River along the highway near the FS road that goes to the Whitewater trail head. So, if driving from Portland later in the day, might want to camp at the FS campground and have a short drive to the Whitewater trail head to start hiking the next morning.
From the Breitenbush trail head, it's about 3000' going in, then over Park Ridge and 1000' down to the Park, so that's 1000' to go back up on the way out. Here's a pic from Park Ridge looking down at Jefferson Park and across to Mt. Jefferson, after making the appoach via Breitenbush trail head.
A two night, three day trip would be to hike into the park on day #1 from either Breitenbush or Whitewater, spend day #2 roaming around the park (several lakes for fishing), then hike out on the third day.
Here's a link to a photo of the park from Park Ridge, approaching from Breitenbush:
Here's a link to a photo of Mt. Jefferson from the Park in July 2010 — looks like there was snow in the Park itself at the time:
Another option for hiking into Jefferson Park is the Pamelia Lake trail head (good road) which provides a much longer, roundabout route to the Park by linking up with the PCT at Pamelia Lake (which is 2 miles from its trail head) and then following the PCT into the Park. Pamelia Lake trail head is a longer drive from Portland, maybe a half hour or so past the road to the Whitewater trail head.
The Pamelia Lake trail head does provide another option for a 3 day loop trip that doesn't include Jefferson Park. The Pamelia Lake trail leads to a trail to Hanks Lake and Hunts Cove on the south side of Mt. Jefferson (opposite side from Jefferson Park). Here's a link to an article with map (click on "cameras" for photos) describing that loop option:May 16, 2011 at 7:04 am #1737111
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
What Mary and Richard said
Late July there will probably be snow starting at 5000 or 6000 feet elevation which will make Jefferson Park and higher trails on Mount Hood difficult.
Follow trip reports here and at portlandhikers.org as it gets closer to your trip and you'll get a better idea about conditions, also possible hikes.
A tourist thing you could do is see Timberline Lodge which has food and drink and lodging. Lots of hikes near-by.
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