Paradise Park: Lost Creek Lollipop Loop

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Chip Down
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Joined: November 8th, 2014, 8:41 pm

Paradise Park: Lost Creek Lollipop Loop

Post by Chip Down » September 21st, 2019, 8:24 pm

Paradise Park is essentially split into thirds by the long deep Lost Creek gullies. For years, I've wanted to follow Lost Creek's south fork to the head of the creek, and then pop over to the north fork for my descent. It finally worked its way to the top of my list.

I didn't want to start from Timberline Lodge. I'm so tired of that long ascent all the way from Zigzag Creek to the lodge. So I went up Paradise Park trail instead, starting at 2800' (ugh) on Kiwanis Camp Road. I was kinda dreading the boring forest hike down, especially as the forecast called for it to be a bit warm. It actually turned out to be a pleasant trail, both ways. There was only one part I disliked, the section that climbs away from Zigzag River up towards the ridgecrest. I was surprised the trail never really got steep, in spite of the nearly 3000' gain to Paradise.

At Paradise, my route was very straightforward: Just follow the loop trail to Lost Creek, and follow it up. It's a neat creek, tumbling down through a dusty volcanic gully, with a consistent narrow riparian zone. It's a striking effect, especially in a place where you can see up/down the creek a considerable distance. I was worried the creek would branch, become indistinct, fade gradually. But no, there was a very satisfying head to the creek, at a spring.

I continued above the spring, following the dry gully all the way to the Paradise/Mississippi saddle. I didn't expect the gully to be well defined all the way up there.

From the saddle, I saw what might be the top of Lost Creek's north fork. Indeed, as I followed it down I discovered the north fork is just as distinct and easy to follow as the south fork. It was sandy, which made for a fast easy descent, but I didn't have gaiters, so I didn't plunge as aggressively as I normally would.

At the Paradise loop trail I followed a path down towards Rushing Water and the PCT, but it faded. I was surprised, as it was so clear up higher. That explains why I never saw the bottom of the trail on the PCT. I dropped until I hit PCT, and headed back to the Paradise Park Trail to start my descent.

Although I missed out on some of the best PP views by being down in the gullies, it was a fun interesting rewarding trip. It wouldn't be advisable for a PP newbie, but if you've already done it all, this is a good way to see PP from a different perspective.
Attachments
0.jpg
Head of Lost Creek south fork.
1.jpg
Looking down Lost Creek south gully, a little above the spring.
2.jpg
Big canyon to the left is Zigzag. At upper left, Jefferson and Sisters.
3.jpg
Coming down the north gully. Notice the trail that angles up to the left. I had to go check it out before returning to the gully.
4.jpg
The middle lobe of Paradise Park. Amazing how crisp the vegetation border is. Highest green spot in PP. Yes, there's a spring, by that boulder.
5.jpg
Says I should drink it responsibly, from a small glass, with friends. If y'all are my friends, then I'm three for three, I guess...right?
6.jpg
To us it's just a puddle; to him it's Mirror Lake.
7.jpg
North Fork where it crosses PP loop trail.
8.jpg
Coming down PP trail, looking across ZZ canyon.
9.JPG
PP loop trail is just barely above "google" at the bottom.

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retired jerry
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Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm

Re: Paradise Park: Lost Creek Lollipop Loop

Post by retired jerry » September 22nd, 2019, 5:42 am

I've always gone up those ridges, I'll have to try the stream beds.

I usually go up from the Burnt Lake Trailhead

Did they ever clear out the section of the Paradise Park Trail, near the Zigzag trail junction, that was obliterated by fallen trees?

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mjirving
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Joined: July 5th, 2011, 10:40 am

Re: Paradise Park: Lost Creek Lollipop Loop

Post by mjirving » September 22nd, 2019, 5:44 am

Cool...thanks for the tour!

Mike

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BurnsideBob
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Joined: May 6th, 2014, 3:15 pm
Location: Mount Angel, Oregon

Re: Paradise Park: Lost Creek Lollipop Loop

Post by BurnsideBob » September 22nd, 2019, 6:31 am

Thanks for sharing a different perspective of a classic--I've always meandered up from split rock.

I especially like your first photo of the spring--an amazing miracle a spring is.

Thanks,

Burnside
I keep making protein shakes but they always turn out like margaritas.

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mtncorg
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Joined: September 15th, 2019, 8:55 am
Location: Fairview

Re: Paradise Park: Lost Creek Lollipop Loop

Post by mtncorg » September 22nd, 2019, 9:37 am

You can loop the Paradise Park trail with the Hidden Lake trail to for diversity ... but then you still have that climb out of Zig Zag. Advantage is few people except in the park. I like the Paradise Park trail to backpack in as well. Like you say, 3000 feet of gain, but it is steady and not at once, for the most part. Nice trip.

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Chip Down
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Joined: November 8th, 2014, 8:41 pm

Re: Paradise Park: Lost Creek Lollipop Loop

Post by Chip Down » September 22nd, 2019, 6:29 pm

retired jerry wrote:
September 22nd, 2019, 5:42 am
Did they ever clear out the section of the Paradise Park Trail, near the Zigzag trail junction, that was obliterated by fallen trees?
Yes, just barely. Details here: viewtopic.php?f=9&t=28552

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