Buck Peak from Lolo Pass 10-24-19

This forum is used to share your experiences out on the trails.
Post Reply
User avatar
bobcat
Posts: 1996
Joined: August 1st, 2011, 7:51 am
Location: SW Portland

Buck Peak from Lolo Pass 10-24-19

Post by bobcat » October 27th, 2019, 9:00 am

Buck Peak, at 4,751 feet, is Multnomah County’s high point. It sits along the ridge that divides the drainages of the Sandy and Hood Rivers, and the hike to the summit along the PCT is almost entirely within the boundaries of the Bull Run Watershed, meaning you cannot leave the trail upon pain of a maximum $5,000 fine and 6 months in jail. While there’s only a 1,300 foot difference between the start at Lolo Pass and the summit of Buck Peak, the 7 ½ mile hike (one way) is an undulating one with over 3,300 feet of elevation gain going and coming.

After passing across the powerline corridor, the PCT hugs the steep rocky east face of Hiyu Mountain, offering the first of several spectacular views to Mt. Hood’s west face as well as to Mt. Adams above Waucoma Ridge. Then, the trail traverses some gnarly old-growth woods exhibiting some impressive noble firs. There’s a talus slope scurrying with pikas, some flowing springs, and then a traverse around the east side of Sentinel Peak.

Bull Run closure sign, Pacific Crest Trail north of Lolo Pass.jpg
Trail carved into cliff, Pacific Crest Trail north of Lolo Pass.jpg
West Fork valley and Mt. Adams, Pacific Crest Trail north of Lolo Pass.jpg
Bear's paw (Hericium abietis), Pacific Crest Trail north of Lolo Pass.jpg
Tall noble fir, Pacific Crest Trail north of Lolo Pass.jpg
Sentinel Peak, Pacific Crest Trail north of Lolo Pass.jpg
Bull Run Watershed sign, Pacific Crest Trail north of Lolo Pass.jpg

At the junction with the Huckleberry Mountain Trail, which comes up from Lost Lake, you can get a glimpse of a sliver of Bull Run Lake through the trees. The Huckleberry Mountain Trail once connected the two lakes. I visited Salvation Spring, which gushes copiously all year and offers several campsites. Then it was up to the saddle between Preachers Peak and the Devils Pulpit in climax sliver fir forest.

Indian oysters (Pleurotus pulmonarius), Pacific Crest Trail north of Lolo Pass.jpg
Trail sign for Salvation Spring, Pacific Crest Trail north of Lolo Pass.jpg
Salvation Spring and campsites, Pacific Crest Trail north of Lolo Pass.jpg

There’s another glimpse of Bull Run Lake where the PCT runs along the narrow ridge crest. Lost Lake becomes visible below, and behind Indian Mountain on Waucoma Ridge, I could see the snowy summits of Adams and Rainer. Soon Buck Peak itself came into view and, after another traverse I came to the unmarked junction with the Buck Peak Trail.

Lost Lake from the Pacific Crest Trail north of Lolo Pass.jpg
Indian Mountain and Mt. Adams, Pacific Crest Trail north of Lolo Pass.jpg
View to Buck Peak, Pacific Crest Trail north of Lolo Pass.jpg

This trail swishes through bear-grass and huckleberry up to the former lookout site on Buck Peak. On the way, I got a good view to Tanner Butte. The summit is forested now, but there’s an opening that produces a splendid view to Lost Lake, Mt. Hood and down to Mt. Jefferson. A short thrust through a tangle of noble fir boughs enabled a vista north to Indian Mountain, Adams, and Rainier. A couple of rusting “artifacts”, perhaps from the lookout days, lay in repose.

Old sign, Buck Peak, Pacific Crest Trail north of Lolo Pass.jpg
Lost Lake and Mt. Hood, Pacific Crest Trail north of Lolo Pass.jpg
Artifact, Buck Peak, Pacific Crest Trail north of Lolo Pass.jpg



On the way back, Mt. Hood stood out brightly facing the western sun. A balmy day on a lonely ridge not often day-hiked and with this year's through hikers only a memory.

View up McGee Creek, Pacific Crest Trail north of Lolo Pass.jpg

Post Reply