Length: 8 miles round trip
Elevation Change: 1510' elevation gain
Season: Late Summer thru Early Fall
Permit: NW Forest Pass Required
Here is a hike worth placing on your must do list.
If it is only an incredible view of Mt Jefferson
you want, then this hike is the best. If you
would like a unique way to reach Jefferson Park,
then this hike is outstanding.
The road leading to the trailhead of this hike
leave alot to be desired. It is not the worst
trailhead road in the Mt Hood National Forest,
but it is pretty close to deserving honorable
mention. Take it slow and easy, and the reward
of the hike is overwhelmingly worth it.
Snow. Yup, snow. Even in mid August. Sooo, I'd
suggest you don't even try until after the first
of August and the middle is better. Wait too much
longer and you'll miss all the flowers, and the
ever present mosquitos.... you don't want to miss
them. Actually, in mid August they aren't bad.
Usually you will encounter snow above the 6500'
level in August. The last half mile might be
entirely on snow, but it is not dangerous and
it is not hard to follow the trail because of
all the good folks that have gone the way
The hike never really gets very steep, and because
it is the Pacific Crest Trail, it is almost
always in very good condition. The trail
climbs through fairly dense forest at the
beginning, but soon opens up into a remarkable
alpine environment. Soon you will be so
greatly rewarded that a couple mosquitos at
the beginning of the hike will soon be forgotten.
This hike is truly a gem, and you must remember
to bring plenty of film or digital media. Also,
you may very likely encounter the migration of
the California Tortoise Shell Butterflies in the
second week of August. It is a surreal feeling
walking through thousands, maybe hundreds of
thousands of beautiful butterflies while hiking
along the upper portion of this trail.
Once you reach Park Ridge, you will be rewarded
with a world class view of Mt. Jefferson and
Jefferson Park below you. It is about a mile
and a quarter to hike down to the first lake
in Jefferson Park, which is called Russell Lake.
If you have the time, you will be greatly rewarded
by spending time in Jeff Park (as they call it) by
exploring the many lakes.
Enjoy and be gentle on this alpine area.
Russell Lake and Mt Jefferson from the Park Ridge trail