The Green Trails Fish Creek Mountain map doesn’t have a lot of trails (green lines) on it, so the single green line almost in the middle of the map caught my attention. Trail 541 to Fish Creek Mountain and High Lake. Checked Afoot & Afield (2nd edition) and there it was. Seems as though it was almost a lost trail until volunteers re-connected it to Road 4620 (this connection is not, however, shown on the Green Trails map). Following the driving directions in A&A, I had no trouble finding the unsigned TH – its right at where Road 4620 becomes Road 4622. There is a sign just beyond the TH.
The volunteer built connector trail is pretty good,
and it’s clear that a lot of effort went into building it.
After less than a ½ mile, the connector trail emerges onto an old road that is slowly being reabsorbed into nature.
I followed this road/trail for a short distance to where the road forks and the 541 trail leaves between the forks to continue straight on up the ridge.
From here to the summit of Fish Creek Mountain, the trail stayed on the ridge and climbed at a very comfortable angle. It was a warm day but the ridge was open to a brisk, cooling breeze (who knows from where?). After about 2 miles I reached the old LO site on top of the mountain. A lot of the trees have grown back but there is still a good view toward Olallie Butte and Mt. Jefferson.
After checking-out the summit, I headed down and around to High Lake. I’ve seen a lot of little lakes this season, but this one really charmed me. It’s backed by the mass of Fish Creek Mountain in one direction,
and looks out over the Clackamas River valley in the other (I could see Hood through the trees). I found a lunch spot at a campsite on the ridge/berm that separates the lake from the valley. This site was exposed to the breeze, which continued to provide coolness and bug abatement (although the bugs were pretty sparse).
This was a short hike – 7.2 mi/2500’ – but a good one. High Lake is a real gem. Definitely worth another visit!
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