I lead a group of beginner's backpackers out to Skookum Lake via Thunder Mountain Trail on Saturday (6/15) for an overnight trip.
The road in to the trailhead is in fairly good shape for a forest service road, generally pretty well graded. There were a few spots with some potholes, but nothing that a passenger car couldn't handle with some care.
The trail is absolutely beautiful, and in very good shape given what little use it sees. The switchbacks are well graded, and the sides of the trail are full of wildflowers – beargrass, lupine, Oregon sunshine, bleeding hearts, paintbrush, and others that I can't remember or don't know the name of. There are places where the tread is faint or slightly obscured by blowdown, but generally fairly easy to follow, despite the brushy portions. More boots on the ground is really all this trail needs to be completely stellar. There are places where trees have fallen across the trail, but they are all easy to climb up and over, or duck under without too much trouble.
The campsite at the far end of the lake still has an old picnic table from way back when before the storms took out the road and they decommissioned the campground, as well as a giant fire ring.
We spent the day swimming in the lake, and relaxing in the sunshine around our campsite. The lake is full of crawdads, and there were plenty of fish we saw jumping towards dusk and dawn. The mosquitoes are somewhat prolific, bring bug spray and that will are least help mitigate the number of bites you get.
All in all, this trail is stunning and well worth the journey up the forest service road.
This forum is used to share your experiences out on the trails.
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