Hike 91
The Mt. Hood National Forest
South Olallie Lake Basin Hike
( Double Peaks, Cigar Lake, Top Lake, Upper Lake, Timber Lake )
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Map of the Olallie Lakes Basin Hike

Length: 6.6 miles round trip
Elevation Change: 1100' gain
Season: Summer thru Fall
Difficulty:   Moderate
Permit:   NW Forest Pass Required


 Click for PDF Topo Map of this Hike 

This hike is like the cream of the crop. A fantastic little stroll through the Olallie Lake Basin. Vistas and Lakes galore and good trails.... what more can a hiker ask? I did throw in Double Peaks just to add a little difficulty to the hike, but that's optional.

I started the hike where the Pacific Crest Trail #2000 crosses Forest Road #4220 just before the junction to the Olallie Lake Resort. Immediately, you get to enjoy one of the many beautiful lakes on this hike. As you pass Head Lake the trail climbs a bit into a fairly open area. From time to time you are in more dense tree growth and then back out into the open. At about a half mile you'll get your first spectacular views of Mt Jefferson to the south. Behind you all this time is the incredible Olallie Butte.

At about a mile and a half you come to the intersection of the Red Lake Trail #719 and the PCT #2000. Keep straight ahead on #2000 which will take you past a small alpine lake just off the trail a bit. You'll see where other have walked to the lake for great photo opts of the lake and of Double Peaks. Back on the trail, and you will walk just a short distance and you will come to the junction of the trail down to Top Lake. Bear right at this point and continue to Cigar Lake.

If you'd like to climb Double Peaks, keep your eye open for the cutoff trail which will leave your trail to the right just a bit past the Cigar Lake sign. There was a cairn and a post the day I hiked it, but who knows what the future holds. The trail is pretty obvious, so leave the PCT #2000 and follow this trail past Cigar Lake and to Double Peaks. You'll know you've got the right trail if your trail was built by the same people that build the trail up Potato Butte.... no such thing as switchbacks.

Yup, the trail just climbs and climbs... very steep. But not for very long. Soon the trail wanders off to the right a bit and isn't quite so steep. In a short distance you will start enjoying spectacular views of Mt Hood to the north and Olallie Butte to the east and all the beautiful lakes below. The trail continues up. You'll enter a more heavily forested area on the north side of Double Peaks, and then you'll begin the last extremely steep climb.

This part of the climb is not dangerous but it is so very steep. Again, its not for very long, and you've reached the top. Bear to the right for a few feet and you'll get all the views you could want to the south, west, and north. Walk back to the saddle and continue on a hundred feet or so to the east, and you'll be blessed with excellent views to the east and the south, and all the lakes in between. The climb up here is worth it.

Now, back down the mountain to the PCT #2000. Bear to the right for about a third of a mile and you will come to the very beautiful Upper Lake. This short jaunt is more than worth it. This lake is just plain gorgeous. Now, backtrack to Cigar Lake and that junction down to Top Lake.

In less than a half mile you'll come to Top Lake. Leave the trail and walk over to the lake for spectacular views and photo opts. You can walk along the lake to your left, or north, and you'll come back to the trail. At the north end of the lake is a junction. Take the trail to your right, or around the north side of the lake. Follow this trail for about a half mile and you will come to the junction of the Timber Lake Trail.

Its only about a half mile to Timber Lake and more than worth the time and effort. This is a rather large lake and is located in a beautiful setting. Drink up the beauty and in season the flowers. Retrace your path back to the trail from Top Lake. Bear right, away from Top Lake, east, and follow this trail to the Forest Road 4220 that you are parked on. You will need to walk the road back to your vehicle. It is about a quarter mile or so. As you walk back, you will be treated to grand views of Mt Jefferson and Olallie Lake.

Looking across Cigar Lake toward Olallie Butte
How to get there:

 Click for PDF Directions Map of this Hike 

Follow Highway 224 out of Estacada for about 26 miles. Right after the bridge just beyond the Ripplebrook Station, bear right and continue on Road 46 for another 21 miles. Watch for the paved Road 4690 on your left, and take it for about 8 miles to the junction to gravel Road 4220. Turn right and follow this road for about five miles. Just before the junction to the Olallie Lake Resort, the PCT2000 crosses the road. You can park here for this adventure, or you can go on just a bit further, and you will come to road on your right, which is the official parking area for the PCT hikes.

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