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Snowy Hike to Corrigan Lake

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Diamond Peak Wilderness is a hikers' paradise, especially once the mosquitoes have died back for the year. Corrigan Lake is a worthy destination for a short day hike on the western side of Diamond Peak. After a very cold night camping at Indigo Springs Campground we set out for the Corrigan Lake trailhead. There was a fair amount of snow around the 5,000 foot mark, but nothing too serious.


The trail starts out across the road from the relatively large (4 plus car) pull-out. There are some impressive Douglas-fir and western hemlock along the short 2 mile trail. You will climb only about 500 feet to Corrigan Lake, mostly on a couple of switchbacks. The trail continues past Corrigan Lake and meets up with trail 3699, which traverses the western side of Diamond Peak wilderness. There are many great trails nearby including Vivian Lake/Divide Lake and Rockpile Lake trails, which could be accessed from the Corrigan Lake trailhead.



After spending some time wandering around Corrigan Lak…

Linton Lake and Linton Falls

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Linton Lake is a short 1.5 mile hike from the historic Highway 242. The trailhead is on the north side of Highway 242 at Alder Springs Campground, but the trail starts out on the south side. You start the hike in a relatively young mixed Douglas-fir/western hemlock forest and pass through a series of small lava beds. Keep an eye out for 'bonsai' trees growing out of these rocks.

When you come to a closed off junction go right (uphill) towards the open lava field. After crossing two large open lava fields you will start the decent to Linton Lake. The forest on this section of the hike is incredibly straight and large. 
 After sitting around for a little while in the pouring rain we decided to hike out to Linton Falls. The 'trail' to Linton Falls involves a lot of climbing over massive downed Douglas-fir. There is another large camp area just before Linton Creek, which could be flooded after heavy rain. There is a fairly established trail that leads up the north side o…

Fall Hike to Duffy and Mowich Lakes

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Straddling the Cascade Crest and three different National Forests lies the relatively large Mount Jefferson Wilderness. Home to an incredible array of forest types, rivers, creeks, alpine lakes, and nearly 200 miles of trails, Mount Jefferson Wilderness is understandably very popular. Marion Lake and Duffy Lake are two of the most popular destinations on the west side of the Wilderness, while Jack Lake and Wasco Lake are popular east side destinations. There are many other opportunities for long hikes including a 40 mile section of the Pacific Crest Trail. The trail to Duffy Lake starts out in a very impressive old-growth Douglas-fir/western hemlock forest as it climbs slightly in elevation.
Climbing through a misty old-growth forest on a crispy fall day is one the best things about living in the Willamette Valley. After walking through about a mile of large trees there is shift towards trees that grow better at a higher elevation such as mountain hemlock and a variety of true firs.…

Waldo Lake Wilderness: Black Creek Trail

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There are nearly 85 miles of trail that cross nearly every part of the Waldo Lake Wilderness, but the Black Creek trail is one of the best. After a short walk through an older plantation the forest quickly transitions to a very impressive forest dominated by ancient Douglas-fir nearly 7 feet in diameter and 250 feet tall. Forest like this once blanketed much of the Cascade Foothills, but have been since been clearcut repeatedly.


These trees can grow so large because of high levels of precipitation and rare occurrence of fire. The trail climbs gradually towards 150 foot Lilian Falls which is 1.3 miles down the trail. Lilian falls makes an excellent destination if you're short on time. To continue towards Waldo Lake veer left away from the falls onto a decidedly drier slope. The trail continues uphill, steeply at times until you reach Waldo Lake.
 After a couple of switchbacks the forest changes dramatically to one dominated by mountain hemlock and true fir with bear grass and huc…

Eastern Eagle Cap Wilderness: Blue Hole

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Few areas in Cascadia are as beautiful as the Eagle Cap Wilderness. The Wallowa Mountains along with Wallowa Lake are fairly well known, but on the east side of Oregon's largest Wilderness lies the headwaters of the Imnaha River. The trailhead is located at the beautiful Indian Crossing Campground, which straddles both sides of the Imnaha River.


There were several people camping at Indian Crossing, they were there for the first weekend of elk season. After setting out we came across one guy returning empty handed. The first section of trail follows an old roadbed while passing several cabins. As you near the sign welcoming you to the Eagle Cap Wilderness the scenery improves dramatically.



  There are several small springs along the trail which make things fairly muddy, even in a dry year like this. Shortly before reaching the side trail to Blue Hole there is a fairly extensive camp area.


If it were later in the day we may have taken a dip at Blue Hole, but it was only in the 4…

Diamond Peak Wilderness: Marie and Rockpile Lakes

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After setting out from the Emigrant Pass trailhead north on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), I quickly remembered why people avoid the area until September. The mosquitoes were pretty incredible. There are countless small ponds along with the occasional lake. Mountain hemlock is the dominate forest tree through out Diamond Peak Wilderness.




Nearly 3 miles of your hike to Marie Lake is along the almost flat PCT. After turning left at the four way trail junction you will descend along a path that was once a road. Thankfully the Diamond Peak Wilderness was designated in 1964 which prevents motorized access.  Both Rockpile and Marie Lakes are beautiful, but Marie won my heart.



 Marie Lake is relatively warm by western Oregon standards, but after a short swim setting up my tent was absolutely necessary. The mosquitoes along the lake shore would have been an absolute nightmare without a tent. There was another group camped along the western shore, but I only heard them right around sunset.