Recent storms have dropped significant early snow on this section. Snow line seems to be ~5300ft, so most of this section is now under snow. Some patches are only ankle deep, but a few days ago it was up to knee deep in other areas. There is enough snow to make spotting the trail challenging. Cut fallen logs are still visible, so that helps spot the trail. Blazing is so-so, and combined with limited visibility conditions to spot topographical landmarks non-GPS navigation could be challenging through this area. It has been raining on the snow so it’s heavy and wet currently. Melting may occur near 6000ft, but there is enough snow I think likely this section will not melt out again before true winter. Plenty of water from snow and snow melt streams. Forest road 60 up to windigo pass PCT trailhead has over a foot of snow on it near the pass, making trailhead access difficult. High-clearance 4WD vehicle with snow tires required.
Recently did a section of PCT from Oregon Section D to E. June 10-20, 2016
From Miller Lake (Mile 1863) to Windigo Pass (1876) and then we followed the old Oregon Skyline Trail up until it connects back with PCT at Odell Lake (1905).
– Expect serious slow navigation with lots of downed trees that haven’t been cleared for the season yet. We were averaging only 1-1.5 miles per hour navigating up/under/around all the debris.
– Expect patches of snow up to 1′ in depth particularly south of Odell in shaded areas that also obscured the trail.
-From 1906-1920, the trails have been cleared, however we hit a small storm window which dumped 3+ inches of snow, where made for slow going and we weren’t prepared as our minimal mesh hiking shoes and lack of winter gloves made for cold+wet conditions. Weather cleared up by June 20, but we were on a schedule and had to stop the section thru hike.
I recently completed this section – taking the Oregon Skyline Trail alternative at Windigo Pass. Very few mosquitos in most places and only 2 patches of snow on the trail (gone by now, I’m sure). Overall, this stretch of the PCT is in great condition and because of water drops is not as daunting as it sounds, even for a 12 mile a day section hiker.
There was water being delivered to the North Crater trailhead (only 1/2 mile off the PCT). As reported on the Half Mile maps, the first water was at Theilsen Creek. Since this is a popular overnight, if the campsites along the PCT are occupied, just hike 1/4 mile down the Thielsen Creek trail and there are many more, nicer ones, along the creek
I was doing 12 mile days so chose Maidu Lake. Already warm and it has a firm bottom so is very nice for swimming. The abandoned trail that contours back up the PCT was easy to find but got sketchy higher up. Nevertheless, even if you bushwhack, you’ll come to the PCT.
Lots of water being cached at Windigo Pass. The guidebooks are confusing about finding the Oregon Skyline trail (to Nip & Tuck and other lakes) – just walk down the road 1/2 mile and the trailhead is clearly signed. It’s beyond the first cleared area you come to. Nip and Tuck lake on the OST was also nice swimming.
Getting through the Crescent Lake area over to the Whitefish horse camp area was VERY confusing. Somehow I missed the cutoff and ended on the road. I finally got back to the trail which paralleled the road, but even this trail was confusing and I eventually just walked along the road and into the camp. There are water spigots everywhere in the Whitefish equestrian campground and the trailhead to Odell Lake via Diamond View Lake is at the back of the loop at the top of the camp (keep left). Diamond View Lake was also great swimming. I really enjoyed talking with the volunteer trail crew from Eugene that was removing a number of large trees that had fallen over the trail down to Odell Lake.
The store at Shelter Cove has showers ($1.50; bring your own towel and soap). The only prepared food available is pizza and hot dogs/bratwurst. Follow the instructions for getting back on the PCT as walking the road up to highway 58 isn’t very inspiring.
Attempted OR section D on June 4. Three miles north of Hwy 138 started hitting up to 5′ snow drifts over trail; still navigable. Some downed trees, nothing big. Near Mt. Thielsen Trail met two southbound hikers who came from Windigo Pass, said 9’+ drifts for about 15 miles on and off between Thielsen & Windigo, especially around Sawtooth.
Trail around mt thielsen is almost impassable with snow. Blazing throughout this region is inconsistent at best. We bushwhack and orienteer thru much of the mt thielsen wilderness. There needs to be better balzing directly around
EDITROR’S NOTE: feedback noted. Thanks.
Snowmelt in Northern OR and Southern WA is progressing much more swiftly than it has in the past couple of years. If the warm weather pattern continues, we expect melt-out at the 5000-foot level by early to mid-July, and at the 6000 foot level by late July to early August. Of course, there will always be pockets on north-facing slopes and under dense canopy that hold snow longer. Please be prepared with navigational tools to find your way in case the trail is obscured.
Heads up to hikers – there is still considerable snow pack around the back side of mt. Thielsen and diamond mountain. It was extremely trick to stay on trail. Gps and yak track footgear would be necessary. Advise all coming this way to take the oregon skyline trail alternate routes by diamond lake and crescent lakes up to shelter cove, for at least the next week or so. Reported 8/8/11.
Pengra (Willamette) pass south into the Diamond Peak, the PCT is mostly snow free (10-20% pack) until Lils Lake. Mosquito factor 8 particularly around the lake outfalls that cross the trail.
- Equestrian issue
- Extreme hazard
- Snow conditions
- Trail Closure
- Trail maintenance issue
- Water conditions
- Central California
- Northern California
- Southern California