Grizzly Peak is a nice day hike to reach up close views of Mt. Jefferson. Between it and the much bigger Jefferson lays Pamelia Lake and Hunts Creek which sit in a nice valley surrounded by ridges and peaks. Grizzly Peak has a good trail the whole way to the top, covering about 5.3 miles or so each way, with about 2700' of elevation gain.
The trail starts at the Pamelia Lake trailhead, and follows Pamelia Creek for the first 2.3 miles. The trail isn't very steep at all through here, but it has some interesting terrain. At some recent point in time, there was some very obvious flooding, with rocks piled up against trees, and large gouges in the terrain. The trail seems easy enough to follow though.
The trail to Grizzly Peak cuts off to the right just before reaching Pamelia Lake. It crosses a stream bed and then starts up the hillside fairly steadily. From here, there is still some good elevatioin to go, but it is straight forward.
The top has amazing views of Jefferson, Three Fingered Jack, the tops of the Sisters, and the top of Mt. Hood. It also has plenty of room to sit and enjoy lunch while admiring the views.
From Salem, take hwy 22 east. From the bridge crossing over the Detroit Lake inlet, go about 12.5 miles. I believe it is near mile marker 68. Turn left (east) onto Pamelia Rd. It is somewhat easy to miss, so just keep your eyes out for it.
Continue straight for about 3 miles until you get to the trailhead. It is a gravel road after a bit, but suitable for any kind of car.
Google Directions from Salem, OR.
Google Directions from Bend, OR.
There is a free wilderness permit which is required. There is a limited number allowed for the Pamelia Lake area, so call ahead to reserve yours. The nice part about this though, is that almost everyone who is getting the permits is heading to Pamelia Lake, while you are heading to Grizzly Peak, so once on the Grizzly Peak trail, there are far fewer people (we saw none).
There is a hefty fine if you are caught without the permit.
I believe there is also a small parking fee, though I'm not positive on this.
To get the free permit, call ahead and show up here:
Detroit Ranger Station
US Forest Service
610 N Santiam Hwy
Detroit, OR 97342
(503) 854-3366 (voice) (503) 854-3369 (TTY)
Camping at Pamelia Lake is quite nice. There are several spots spread around the area, so you don't have to be close to anyone else. The wilderness permit is needed to camp there though.
There are also a couple smaller lakes further up the valley that look like they would be nice to camp at.
Check here for a general weather forecast around Detroit Lake
You can also check here
to see if the trailhead is accessible (free of snow).
A portion of the trail is on the north side of the peak, so I would expect most years it would have snow on the trail through May and into June. To get the most up to date info on the trail, ask the people at the Detroit Ranger Station when you call to get your wilderness permit.