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Sky Lakes Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Deer Lake (B. Hope)
Heavenly Twin Lakes (B. Hope)
Margurette and Trapper Lakes from the PCT (B. Hope)
Map of the Sky Lakes loop hike (B. Hope)
  • Start point: Cold Spring TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Cold Spring Trailhead
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: Loop
  • Distance: 14.6 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1,600 feet
  • High Point: 6,800 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: Summer, Fall
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: Yes
  • Crowded: No


Hike Description

Congress designated the Sky Lakes Wilderness in 1984 and it now covers 113,849 acres. It stretches along the crest of the volcanic Cascade Mountains from the border of Crater Lake National Park on the north to State Highway 140 in the south, and includes three major lake (former glacial) basins: Seven Lakes, Sky Lakes, and Blue Canyon. From the rugged summit of Mount McLoughlin (9,495’) in at its southern end, this wilderness extends northward into an area of broad plateau-like ridges, dotted with many lakes. With its numerous lakes, easy to moderate elevation changes, generally good trails, and plethora of campsites, this wilderness is an ideal backpacking and dayhiking destination.

This loop allows you to vist almost all of the Sky Lakes Basin and Dwarf Lakes Area in one moderately-graded loop on generally good trails.

From the trailhead, take the Cold Spring Trail (#3710) to a junction with the Sky Lakes trail (#3762) and then follow that trail west past Deer Lake to its junction with the PCT. Go north on the PCT to a junction with the Divide Trail (#3717). This junction might be easy to miss - it occurs where the PCT makes a sharp downhill turn to the left. Take the Divide Trail down 2 miles, past No-See-Um Lake, into the Margurette and Trapper Lakes basin, to its junction with the Sky Lakes trail (#3762). Follow the Sky Lakes trail south to its junction with the South Rock Creek trail (#3709) and take this trail back to the Cold Spring trailhead.

Note that this area of the Sky Lakes Wilderness can also be accessed from the east via the Nannie Creek Trailhead and the Nannie Creek Trail.


Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this destination

  • Hiking Southern Oregon by Art Bernstein and Zach Urness (2014 Edition, Hike #49)
  • 100 Hikes in Southern Oregon by William L. Sullivan (Third Edition, Hike #50)

More Links

Page Contributors

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.