Water Conditions

Silverwood Lake Algae Blooms

August 4th, 2016

Please note that the current water conditions in Lake Silverwood are constantly changing.  Currently there is an algae bloom in the lake and state officials have posted a no swimming advisory for the lake.  The lake has been signed but as the PCT navigates around the lake and to some remote beaches, it seems prudent to alert the hiking community.

You can find updates from the Park here

and read more information on the situation here

Section J Stevens to Park Lakes

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By: inchworm
July 19th, 2016

The summer is coming very late this year and both natural conditions and trail maintenance are not yet to where they would be for a July hike. Several pieces of the trail have significant amounts of large downed trees, notably south of Deep Lake to Waptus Trail 1310, and from Lemah Creek south to Spectacle Lake. While most are passable by hikers (only once did I have to remove my pack), it will slow travel time significantly. Between Waptus and Escondido Ridge, the brush was thick enough to slow you down also. This stretch is impassable by stock.

Water levels are high for this time of year. The “potentially treacherous” ford just south of Deception Pass is still quite high and I have no idea how one hiker we met barely got his feet wet (he said he went far downstream). Everyone else got a thigh-high soak in cold, swift water. Many streams and creeks required knee high wet crossings where normally you could boulder hop or wade ankle deep.

Snow is still sitting in patches and in some cases in 1/8 mile traverses in the bowls at high elevation (Chickamin Ridge especially). You can see the trail, so you won’t get lost though, and it is crossable and good condition midday if you are comfortable with snow.

Bugs were really not bad with recent rain and cold. Deception Lake was awful, plan not to stop there yet. Temperatures were in the 50s by day and 40s at night.

All in all, this section’s challenges are as though it is late June, rather than July.

Crater Lake to Fish Lake water sources

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By: JaNell
July 23rd, 2015

My friend and I just did the 50 mile hike between Fisher Lake and Crater Lake. For the most part there were many places to find water. For those who are planning to refill your water at Jack Spring you won’t be able too, the spring has dried up. The next closes place to refill is Ranger Spring which is south of Jack Spring and 1 mile off the trail. It’s a beautiful place to stop and cool off. There are still plenty of small streams between Ranger Spring and Devil Peak. The other place we had counted on was Snow Lake. Which we either missed or the sign was burnt in the last forest fire. Fortunately we had filter extra water at Christi Springs.

Oregon: North Crater to Odell Lake – starting June 28

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By: Dave Brook
July 16th, 2015

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.

Water sources in Washington

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By: Jim
July 13th, 2015

We hiked the stretch between Walupt Lake/Nannie Ridge to HWY 12 July 4 through July 7. There was obviously water at Sheep Lake, decent water at that. There was then great water at Cispus basin. AFter that we found excellent water at Snowgrass. And then a snow field near Alpine. Other than a couple “glacier/snowfield” crossings just prior to The Knife, we didn’t encounter water until McCall Basin. The next water after McCall basin was and awesome source at Hidden Spring (kinda tricky to find). From Hidden Spring to HWY 12 there is a small stream just 1 mile from the trailhead at HWY 12, and of course Shoe lake.

Bone Dry Stream Beds

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By: Laurie Meade
June 29th, 2015

Every stream bed I passed from Elk Lake to Cliff Lake #1942 was dry on 6/21/2015. There is water in the larger bodies of water and lakes. Please be mindful and carry enough water to get you past any and all seasonal streams as they may be dry already this early in the season.

Carter Meadows to Etna Summit

By: Laurie Hallum
June 22nd, 2015

Hiking partner and I hiked Carter Meadows TH to Etna Summit June 14 – 15, 2015. All of the trees that were on the trail have been cut and removed. Thank you trail crews. A few areas were a little brushy, the trail sustained some damage from the fire last year, but it didn’t make it a complete moonscape of the area. Beautiful views and water were still there, but the water may not be in a couple of months.

Oregon Section G – Barlow Pass to Preachers Peak 6/8-6/11

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By: Redtail
June 15th, 2015

Very light snow year. Snow is already COMPLETELY melted off trail, except for 20-foot stretch near Timberline. A number of small downed trees near Barlow Pass, but otherwise, Hood-area trail is clear and clean.

Water access abundant with a number of on-trail creeks flowing; special mention to an on-trail spring at mile 2109.5 JSO ridge above Zigzag River. Zigzag is an ankle ford. Sandy was knee- to thigh-high with strong current at an evening crossing. We heard from southbounders that the bridge was still washed out at Muddy Fork, and to avoid an even worse ford we took the Ramona Falls/Timberline Trail alternate route. NOT recommended! There are three bad washouts on steep cliffsides on the north side of Yocum Ridge, dangerous to traverse with a full pack. However, the three Muddy Fork crossings on the Timberline alternate route were calf- to knee-high with mild current.

From Lolo Pass to approximately 1 mile north of the Preachers Peak saddle, trail is clear but mosquitoes are extremely aggressive. On-trail streams flowing both JNO the pass and on the switchbacks beneath Preachers Peak.