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Looking for routes along the PCT

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Looking for routes along the PCT

Postby Sidekick » Fri Aug 13, 2010 6:41 pm

Planning a backpacking trip. ~50 miles / 5 days. I'd like to do as much of the PCT as possible but I'm looking for a loop if possible, because shuttling is pretty much out of the question. I'd rather not do an out-and-back if it can be avoided. Anyone have any suggested routes they've done or that might be possible to do? (north Oregon or Washington no further north than Rainier)
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Three Sisters

Postby oldandslow » Fri Aug 13, 2010 10:01 pm

The PCT along the west side of the Three Sisters is beautiful. You can then hike back on the east side which, except for the northern portion, is quite scenic. There are nice sidetrips to camping spots with great views like Eileen Lake and Golden Lake. If you have any questions that I could answer, let me know.
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Postby billisfree » Sat Aug 14, 2010 6:01 am

ahhh... Eileen lake... shallow and relatively warm in the late afternoon... I went skinny dipping in that lake.
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Postby markv » Mon Aug 16, 2010 8:33 am

That's an easy one. I recommend starting from Government Camp//Barlow Pass, or further up from Timberline Lodge. Hike north on the PCT around the west side of Mt. Hood and downhill. Go all the way to Cascade Locks. Get some more food, some beer at the PCT tavern and hostel (hostel not open i don't think). Then walk a couple miles west to the Eagle Creek trailhead. Hike up and south on that. It's spectacular. Really the whole route so far is, and it continues. When the Eagle Creek hooks back up with the PCT, retrace your steps on the PCT. If you are ahead of schedule and feel good, take the Timberline Trail around the other side of Mt. Hood (the east side), although be forewarned there's a large wash out at Eliot Creek that requires going above and onto the glacier a mile or so. No worries...if this looks too sketchy, you can always backtrack a half day to the PCT again, and it's so beautiful you won't have regrets. Whether your return is east or west of the mountain, either way you end up back at Timberline Lodge and then Government Camp.

I don't have mileages, but i'd estimate that the LONG way around, i.e. starting from Government Camp and returning east around Hood would total you about 70 miles. The SHORT way, starting at Timberline Lodge and backtracking around the west side on your return would total you about 50 miles.

Also keep in mind Timberline Lodge has a good breakfast buffet.
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Re: Three Sisters

Postby keema » Mon Aug 16, 2010 2:46 pm

oldandslow wrote:The PCT along the west side of the Three Sisters is beautiful. You can then hike back on the east side which, except for the northern portion, is quite scenic. There are nice sidetrips to camping spots with great views like Eileen Lake and Golden Lake. If you have any questions that I could answer, let me know.

This was going to be my suggestion.
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Goat Rocks

Postby oldandslow » Tue Aug 17, 2010 12:08 am

If you are wiling to do an out and back, I can't think of anything better south of Mt. Rainier than the Goat Rocks. You could get on the PCT at Coleman Weedpatch and hike to Shoe Lake. On the way back you could avoid a little repetition by taking the Nanny Ridge Trail down from Sheep Lake. This truly is beautiful hiking that is worth a double take. If I can muster one more backpacking trip from my old body, this is where I will go.
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Postby markv » Wed Aug 18, 2010 7:14 am

Sisters is beautiful, and it's easier to do closer to 100% loop, but my preference would be the Goat Rock idea or my Hood idea, just in terms of variety and a sense of spaciousness. Really you couldn't go wrong with any of the three...
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Permits?

Postby Sidekick » Wed Aug 18, 2010 5:16 pm

Thank you for all your suggestions, I'm looking closely into them to make my choice.

And now I have another question- about permits. I'm wondering if any of these routes require limited use permits, meaning a permit that I would have to get ahead of time and therefore would be hosed if I show up at the trailhead without one. (not talking about the permits you fill out at the trailheads) Because this detail will greatly influence my choice.
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Postby markv » Wed Aug 18, 2010 7:18 pm

The Hood route requires no permit if parking at Timberline Lodge. If you did it in reverse, starting at the Eagle Creek trailhead, you'd need something. I don't know about the other routes...i went through as part of a long-distance hike, so i didn't park at any trailheads.
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Postby oldandslow » Wed Aug 18, 2010 8:14 pm

A Northwest Forest Pass is required to park at most trailheads. Limited entry permits are required for the Obsidian area of the Three Sisters Wilderness Area. I suggest that you call the ranger station in Sisters--pretty much on your way from Portland to the trailhead--to inquire. I believe that permits can be obtained by mail if picking it up would be inconvenient.
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Postby oldandslow » Mon Aug 30, 2010 12:43 am

There was an article in the Travel Section of today's Oregonian about the hike around the Three Sisters. The author liked it.
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