Oregon 3-4 Day Backpacking Trip Suggestions for June '20

General discussions on hiking in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest
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portland97219
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Oregon 3-4 Day Backpacking Trip Suggestions for June '20

Post by portland97219 » December 17th, 2019, 2:49 pm

Hi!

For my 40th birthday, I want to organize a 3 to 4-day backpacking trip with five of my closest friends in June. I'm a native Oregonian but have only car camped here so coming at this with zero knowledge. Outdoor experience levels in the group vary, but we're all in good shape. Looking for any suggestions of locations / itineraries that hit some/most of these criteria:

- Within 2-3 hour drive of Portland
- Nice variety of scenery--peaks, rivers, lakes, wildflowers
- Easy to moderate elevation gain (thinking 5 - 7 miles a day over the course of probably 3 days total)
- Fairly quiet and not heavily-trafficked (willing to drive further if necessary)... the quieter the better
- A full loop route would be nice, but not required

Thanks for your suggestions!
-Ryan

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teachpdx
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Re: Oregon 3-4 Day Backpacking Trip Suggestions for June '20

Post by teachpdx » December 17th, 2019, 3:24 pm

June is such a varied month around here. Most trails above 3000' are still snowbound in early June, but late June may see all alpine trails clear of snow if it's a low snow year.

So I think we all need to know if you plan on early or late June before we can give any solid recommendations.

The top of my recommendation list would probably be the Wallowas. It's a longer drive than you want, but it tends to melt out earlier than the Cascades and there are so many good loop opportunities in your mileage range.

Mid to late June, you can probably piece together a lollipop loop along Badger Creek, east of Mt. Hood. Again, melts out earlier.

You'll honestly just want to block out the time in your calendar, wait until late May to see what conditions are, and then decide from there.
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portland97219
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Re: Oregon 3-4 Day Backpacking Trip Suggestions for June '20

Post by portland97219 » December 17th, 2019, 6:39 pm

Thank you! Super helpful. I know it's kind of a vague question, kind of like asking how to spend a week in Spain or what kind of sedan to buy.

Hadn't considered the Wallowas, but sounds like it might be worth the longer drive. As far as dates go, we're flexible. Preference is to go earlier in June, but planning this far out it's not really going to matter. Ultimately, just wanting to be in a beautiful space with the best shot of decent weather and some breathtaking natural scenery.

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retired jerry
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Re: Oregon 3-4 Day Backpacking Trip Suggestions for June '20

Post by retired jerry » December 18th, 2019, 5:41 am

I did Wallowas July 8 this year. There was still a lot of snow in the Glacier Lake basin so we stayed below that. Still a good trip, but August is really better.

I do that most years. Go high in July then tell myself next year I'm going to do it a month later :)

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Re: Oregon 3-4 Day Backpacking Trip Suggestions for June '20

Post by Aimless » December 18th, 2019, 1:51 pm

Early-to-mid June would see many trails open in Eagle Cap wilderness, but they'd be along the river corridors at lower elevation, like the Minam River trail. In a normal snow year even in late June you'd still encounter significant snow-cover on trails above 5800 to 6000 feet, which would limit the available mileage on any one trail, assuming you're looking to not walk on snow.

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retired jerry
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Re: Oregon 3-4 Day Backpacking Trip Suggestions for June '20

Post by retired jerry » December 18th, 2019, 1:56 pm

similar to that, above Snake River like from Hat Point. Or Wenaha river.

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drm
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Re: Oregon 3-4 Day Backpacking Trip Suggestions for June '20

Post by drm » December 27th, 2019, 7:11 am

Olympic National Park has lots of low altitude valleys melted out in June. Some areas are usually fine by April. You probably won't get a loop in since that requires crossing a higher ridge. But Enchanted Valley would be a great destination, especially if you can avoid crowded weekends. It is 13 miles in to the valley, but relatively flat. That's probably about 4 hours from Portland. Seems like nobody here ever mentions the Olympics as an early season choice - I know Washington state is a foreign country, but crossing the border is not that tough, no passport required, they even speak English. :lol:

And there is always the Herman Ck / PCT loop right here in the Gorge, reliably melted out most Junes.

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BigBear
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Re: Oregon 3-4 Day Backpacking Trip Suggestions for June '20

Post by BigBear » December 27th, 2019, 9:15 am

Let's see: you want pretty, close to Portland and not many hikers. Excuse me while I laugh hysterically to myself.

Ok, now that I got that out of my system... You can have two of your three desires, but never three. You can have pretty and close, but you get crowded. You can have ugly and close, and maybe not so crowded. You can have pretty, and far away, and maybe not so crowded (unless its really pretty).

The timing: June. So, how much snow do you think will fall int he Cascades between now and then. How are you for mosquitoes? Gotta love them if your hiking int he mountains in June or July.

Your best bet is less than 3,000 feet in altitude and thinking in terms of a car shuttle or an out and back.

There are river trails along the Rogue and Umpqua in southern Oregon, and there are sections of the coast trail. There will probably be part of the PCT relatively snow-free, but you need to stay away from the mountains. The Wallowas are a no for June, July and sometimes even early August do tot he snow.

A good resource would be Douglas Lorrain's Backpacking Oregon and Backpacking Washington books.

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Re: Oregon 3-4 Day Backpacking Trip Suggestions for June '20

Post by Schrauf » December 27th, 2019, 1:08 pm

The Loowit Trail is often open by mid-June in lowish snow years. I've done it the third week of June in 2018 and 2019. Awesome 30-mile loop around MSH, so maybe a bit long for your plans. Most people do it in 3 days, but that's 10 miles per day, with decent elevation change. Also, very exposed, so warm sunny days are tough. Finally, there's some exposure and loose footing in several locations, so not great for people with fear of heights or little hiking experience.

I'd recommend getting out for a one-night backpack (at least) to vet gear issues before committing to a multi-day loop with numerous people that have not backpacked before. There's just a steep learning curve and likely gear/shoe issues that will cause some aches, pains or annoyances if you don't discover them first on a shorter trip.

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