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Camp Lake to Green Lakes Pass Add-on Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Carver Lake from the West. That lake is the brownest from glacial silt lake I've ever seen. You can get an idea how unconsolidated the soil is. Recently deposited from the glacier. Sort of like quicksand to walk on. (Jerry Adams)
Glacier melts right before it gets to Carver Lake. This view is from West of the lake. There's a narrow strip of land you can walk on between glacier and lake. I had to walk in the water up to my calf a couple times. Walking above on the glacier would probably be better, but if you started sliding, you'de end up in the lake. (Jerry Adams)
Map (Jerry Adams)
  • Start point: Camp LakeRoad.JPG
  • Ending Point: Green Lakes Pass
  • Trail Log: Trail Log
  • Distance: 3.5 miles
  • Elevation gain: 700 feet
  • High Point: 7700 feet
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Seasons: Summer and early fall
  • Family Friendly: Nos
  • Backpackable: Yes
  • Crowded: No

This is not a recommended hike. It would be easy to get lost or injured and there are few people that walk by to help. Better to just take the long trail down and back up. The Forest Service and SAR hate it when people do this...

This is more of a work in progress. Don Nelson did this many years ago and gave some hints. TheProfessor did this [[1]]. Then I did it [[2]]. Now I've done a lower route. I need to do this again and I think I'de find a little better route.

The problem is, if you want to go around the South Sister, you get to Camp Lake, and then you have to go down to the Green Lakes Trail and back up to the pass above Green Lakes - 11.6 miles and 1200 feet elevation loss and gain. (Arguably) fairly boring hike through trees.

But, there's a shortcut directly from Camp Lake to Green Lakes Pass. - about 3 miles and 700 feet of elevation gain and loss. It's off trail though.

What TheProfessor and I did, was go above Chambers Lakes and Carver Lake (route shown on map). You could go equally well either direction. From the pass above Camp Lake, I went up the ridge about 0.5 mile, then up the snow field which is a glacier about 0.4 mile, then about 0.8 mile on steep loose rock and glacier to just Southeast of Carver Lake, then 1.6 miles down to the Green Lakes Pass.

The problem is that 0.8 miles of steep loose rock. Get's in your boots. Walking on that glacier above Carver Lake is bad although I didn't see any crevases. The glacial deposits are like quicksand. I don't know what I was thinking walking between the glacier and Carver Lake - one of those cases where you get committed and then the day gets late so you don't have much choice but to continue. I won't do that route again, although maybe it's not that bad. If I did it again I'de stay 0.1 mile above Carver Lake.

The lower route is probably easier, but a little longer. There are a few small "cliffs" to negotiate which make this more difficult. There are a few spots that have a primitive trail, especially getting around the "cliffs".

If I was starting from Camp Lake, i'de probably take the lower route - they're both the same distance and the lower route is probably easier and safer. If I was starting from the Camp Lake pass, I might take the high route because it's about a mile shorter. And if going 0.1 mile above Carver Lake isn't too bad, then there's really only about 0.2 mile of difficult, loose, steep rock.

Oh, this is some of the nicest alpine scenery you'll see anywhere - better than any of the other Three Sisters hikes.

[gpx file]

test map (Jerry Adams)

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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.

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