I am intrigued by the Eagle Creek approach, especially by the waterfalls along that route — but who knows what it is like since the fire, and at any rate Eagle Creek is still closed. With the NFS reopening areas -- and allowing for camping at unmaintained sites -- we called ahead to Lost Lake Resort and learned that hiking around (though not on) their property is good to go. On their part, Lost Lake Resort is at this point open for guests to stay in individual cabins, though the lodge and campground remain closed -- as well as boat rentals, etc.
We found an unmaintained site just up Jones Creek Rd and spent a lovely night there. The next morning I took off up Old Skyline Trail from near our campsite to avoid the resort. As it was, I did not see a single other person -- nor any signs of another person -- the entire day.
As has been my experience on other arteries to/from the PCT, the trails are well-maintained with ample signage. The previous winter's deadfall is still in place, as is to be expected in May of any year, though who knows when (or if) train maintenance will take place in 2020.
Some smaller patches of snow remained around the lake but I encountered the first sizable stretches at around 3500'. None of the snow I encountered until the PCT was extensive. And for what it is worth, I brought both microspikes and snowshoes but never used either of these. I did not even bother throwing on my gaiters, though to some regret.
Once at the junction with the PCT not a whiff of snow was in sight for the first 1/4-mile. After that, it was pretty well constant all the way to Buck Peak, though neither flotation nor traction were necessary, at least not on this day. Making my way up and down the still-deep drifts on the east-facing slopes slowed progress considerably as I kicked in steps. Then at the last 1.5 miles, I was slowed even further by the traverse across steep snow, which threw in a small dash of spice.
Even in deep snow the junction for the trail to the summit of Buck Peak seemed to me to be pretty obvious (though not signed). Still, I diverted from the trail, opting for the snow-free ridgeline. You can find the summit register under a cairn in a small jar, behind the tree with the summit sign on it. Even with an overcast day I was afforded an in-your-face view of Hood, as well as a glimpse of Jefferson on the southern horizon.
Having studied the contours, on the way down I decided to bushwhack a shortcut. Looking down the snowfield toward the headwaters of Buck Point Creek, I realized I could plunge-step the steep upper portion down to the creek, which I could then trace to NFD Rd 13. With a 1400' descent over ~1 mile, it certainly seemed doable, so I went for it. This route was both more fun and more efficient, and the waterfalls that I encountered were gorgeous. It did take some care to avoid postholing into unseen boulder fields and smaller streams, and once I was out of the snow I had to rely on a couple veggie belays. Once to the forest road, it was about 2 miles back to the car. I estimate this route saved me 3 miles -- and a good chunk of time traversing the steep snow, though following my kicked-in steps did render progress faster up to that point. Still, I would absolutely not consider this variation if it were snow-free.
All in all Buck Peak took considerably more effort than if I had gone after it in the summer, but I would rather save my summer ascents for higher peaks.
Appears this summitlog was hacked and deleted so going by memory here. Tried in July 2009 with Jim but the bugs were horrendous and we gave up. Went back and tagged Devils Pulpit but no summit due to snow. Went back a third time and got the summit on a blue sky day.
Really enjoyable hike along the PCT from Lolo Pass with Marc Alifanz. Third Oregon CoHP of the trip and 15th overall. Great day with fantastic views of Hood from the top.
great "lick my wounds" day out...
Tough bushwhack up from the southeast. Trail might have been a better idea, but not nearly so much fun. Trip Report.
A nice day hike from Wahtum Lake Campground via the PCT, 20 miles, 6 hours RT.
Flying out to Oregon 2 days before my climb of Mt Hood left me with a day to explore. I thought a hike out to Buck Peak would be a nice way to spend a day.I summitted via Lost lake and the Huckleberry trail. Great hike but drizzled all day so no views. I was able to pick out the peak from the Sunshine route on Mt Hood 2 days later.
Started from my campsite on bike. Rode about 2 miles to the trailhead then hike a biked and rode the 2 miles to the PCT, where I left my bike. Hiked up the PCT in increasingly bad weather. Found the summit trail, which was VERY overgrown but easy to follow with a few large downed trees to climb over. Was very wet, I was soaked by the time I made it back down to the PCT. Back down the PCT to my bike for the ride down to the lake, which was fun but cold on the hands. 2:20 up, 1:40 down. Temp in the low 40's and rain on and off. One good thing was the mosquitos that hiway99 mentions were here last week were all gone. Would have been nice to have had a view though.
A nice sunny day for a hike (for a change) with temperatures in the mid-seventies. Abundant, aggressive mosquitoes along much of the trail (much worse on the return trip--it was literally impossible to stop along the trail without getting swarmed). The short summit trail was overgrown but not difficult to follow. The view of Mt. Hood from the summit (and along the trail) was worth the effort. Buck Peak itself was relatively mosquito-free. Saw five Cascade snow peaks: Rainier, St. Helens, Adams, Hood, and Jefferson.
Huckleberry trail is now clear of snow to the PCT. Still several big blowdowns to go over or around. The snow is rapidly dissappearing from the PCT.
One dangerous stretch will take another week or two for the trail to melt out. About a mile south of Buck Peak, the USGS shows the trail traversing the southwest side of the crest. The trail has been relocated to stay east of the county line (and out of the Bull Run Watershed). This reroute crosses some steep, north facing, snow covered slopes. I was glad to have an ice axe.
Tried the Huckleberry Mountain approach from Lost Lake. Raining steadily, freezing level 5000 ft or lower. Trail disappeared under snow at 3900 feet. Deep snow on PCT portion. Half a dozen big blowdowns to go over and around on the Huckleberry portion. Made it to the saddle north of Preachers Pulpit before deciding the last 2 - 3 miles would have to be another day.
On a trail run from Lolo Pass with my brother Dave and saw the climber's trail and just had to go see what was up there.
I had the pleasure of this long walk on a rainy day in October 2003. I car camped the night before at Lolo Pass and it really was a dark and stormy night. It took me 6 hours round trip. No views, just rain, puddles, and wet. I look forward to goinng back on a sunny day to enjoy the views.
On Thanksgiving Day 2002 I had scouted the area south of Wahtum Lake in the Indian Mountain area and finally discovered the Indian Springs campground, which seemed like the perfect place to head south for Buck Peak. So the next spring I headed straight for that spot, and hiked the 11.5 mile RT to Buck Peak. It was mostly a downgrade at first, so all that elevation had to be regained on the return hike. The only bummer was the clouds that kept me from seeing Mt. Hood, but I had seen it wonderfully on the scouting trip in November. The area provides fantastic vistas of the north and west sides of Hood.
Hiked from Lolo pass in about 4 inches of fresh snow. It snowed the whole time, until I was almost back to my truck, then showed an excellent view of Hood. A pretty nice easy hike in winter wonderland.
On a very hot summer day, my son in law Andrew and his brother Jeff and I made the 15 mile round trip to nab Buck Peak. I had the pleasure of meeting another county highpointer at the trailhead, Roxanne of Trapper and Roxanne fame. (famous in the county highpointer circle). The mosquitoes made the hike nastier than it should have been and yet, the trip was a nice hike overall. Buck Peak is found on a little way trail, off of the main PCT.