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Breitenbush Lake Trailhead

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

(Redirected from Breitenbush Trailhead)
This trailhead lies within the boundary of extensive wind-driven fires that burned in September, 2020.
It and the trails that it services are presumed closed until further notice.
The Breitenbush Lake Trailhead for the Pacific Crest Trail (Steve Hart)


Hikes starting here

Hikes including this location

Fees and Regulations

  • Self-issued wilderness permit
  • Central Cascades Wilderness Permit required for entry into the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness: $6 overnight permit; $1 per person day use (June 15th - October 15th)

Driving Directions

From Estacada, head southeast on Hwy. 224 (which turns into FR 46) for about 53 miles until you reach a junction with FR 4220 just before FR 46 turns to the right and heads toward Detroit. You'll find the junction right at the crest of the ridge at the boundary between the Mt. Hood National Forest and the Willamette National Forest. Turn left here on to Road 4220, signed for Skyline Pond. Stay to the right at the first intersection. After a mile of decent gravel, reach a gate on FR 4220 after which the road turns very bumpy with lots of loose rock in the road. The road becomes increasing narrow, and most of the time is wide enough for just one vehicle. The tread is very rough and rocky, and probably not passable for most low-clearance passenger cars. After about three miles, pass the poorly-marked trailhead for Breitenbush Cascades. Then cross the North Fork of the North Fork of the Breitenbush River, after which the road becomes increasingly rocky and rough. Just before you reach Breitenbush Lake, you encounter the most nerve-wracking section of the drive, a section traversing a talus slope that is seemingly more rock than road. While it's bad, it doesn't last that long, and you can exhale as you are almost to Breitenbush Lake. At the crest, you'll see a red dirt road leading to the right. Follow this short spur to a large loop-style parking lot. The well-marked trailhead is 6.5 miles from the highway, and there's room for quite a few cars - remember, this is a trailhead for the Pacific Crest Trail.

Alternately, if you have a tank or a 4-wheel drive truck, you can drive here a slightly different way. Rather than turning off at FR 4220, you can drive southeast on 224/46 for 48 miles until you reach an extremely well-marked sign for Olallie Lake at the junction with FR 4690. Turn left onto FR 4690 for 8 miles, then left onto FR 4220 for approximately 11 miles, passing Olallie, Monon and Horseshoe Lakes until you reach Breitenbush Lake. The 2 mile section of road between Horseshoe and Breitenbush Lakes is among the worst sections of road in Oregon, and is not recommended for passenger car drivers with any consideration whatsoever for their vehicle. Seriously, it's really that bad. Consider yourself warned.

For those not coming from Portland, you can reach the turnoffs for FR4220 and FR4690 by driving east on Hwy 22 from Salem to Detroit. In Detroit, turn onto FR46 and drive roughly 17 miles to the turnoff for FR4220, or 24 miles for the turnoff to FR4690.

Other Notes

I'll say this again: either way you get here, the road will be rough. Allow at least a half hour for the drive from FR 46 in, and even more time if you are coming in via Olallie Lake. You might want to consider camping at either Olallie or Breitenbush Lake for the weekend if you plan on coming here. The scenery does compensate for the very poor condition of the roads.


Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.