Looking for a good backpacking location

Trip recommendations, current conditions, and other trail related Q&A
knote72
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Looking for a good backpacking location

Post by knote72 » January 16th, 2020, 5:46 am

Like the title says, I'm looking for a good area to host a backpacking trip with some friends. Specifically, I'm looking for something in the cascades for early summer (around late June when the snow is thawed), that's good for moderate backpacking/camping but also has some lakes in the area (my personal preference, I wanna bring my fishing rod along). I notice the field guide rates trail difficulty by length, and I know my friends and I have done moderate length trails many times before, so I figure that's a good starting point for us. I'm hoping for there to be enough trails to keep us hiking for 4-5 days (assuming we cover 1 trail a day), and also hoping for an area with not a ton of traffic (another preference).

I've been looking at the field guide and at first glance, the Olallie Lake area looks nice. It has lots of fair length trails with lakes along the way, and camping is permitted. Thoughts? My main concern is whether it falls within one of the "main hiking areas" (Mt Jefferson, Mt Washington, and Three Sisters). I know that the fee/permit system they're implementing is gonna scare people off, probably to other areas, just hoping Olallie isn't gonna get hit hard by the time my trip rolls up.

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jessbee
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Re: Looking for a good backpacking location

Post by jessbee » January 16th, 2020, 6:38 am

I can't help you much with backpacking ideas but just as an FYI, many of those high elevation areas will still have plenty of snow in June. And people like lakes, so it will be tough to find a lake without much foot traffic, at least on weekends.
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Aimless
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Re: Looking for a good backpacking location

Post by Aimless » January 16th, 2020, 10:02 am

The area immediately around Ollalie Lake is designated as a "Recreation Area" and is not within the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness Area. The boundary of the wilderness area begins directly south of Breitenbush Lake and would normally be accessed via the PCT trailhead at Breitenbush Lake. The new permit and quota system will apply to hikers entering the wilderness at that trailhead.

You should also be aware that the Warm Springs Reservation tribal lands begin just to the east of Ollalie Lake, including Ollalie Butte and several smaller lakes. Non-tribal hikers entering those lands are considered trespassers by tribal authorities. Lakes and trails to the west or north of Ollalie Lake are USFS lands and freely available.

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retired jerry
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Re: Looking for a good backpacking location

Post by retired jerry » January 16th, 2020, 10:20 am

late June - snow level maybe 5000', depends on the year

and if the snow has melted there'll be lots of bugs

"trail difficulty" should be taken with skepticism, it's judged by a volunteer writer, different writers may judge differently, still of some value

maybe Bull of the Woods would be better? I haven't been there hardly at all but it's lower elevation and there are some lakes

knote72
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Re: Looking for a good backpacking location

Post by knote72 » January 18th, 2020, 1:13 am

I was aware of the possibility of crowds, it was just a preference. I should've also mentioned, we were gonna try to schedule this during the week for that reason. I was aiming for late June because a)the campfire bans usually start in mid-July, and b)early July you'd expect a lot of people coming out for thr 4th of July holiday (one of my friends and his wife have something planned for the 4th so I'm trying to oblige and make the schedule work). As for the boundary areas, I wasn't planning on Breitenbush or any of the butte hikes, so I'll be aiming for areas north of Breitenbush and no further east than Olallie lake (I was aware of the Reservation, and my half-sister's dad has warned me about how some of the tribes can get when people trespass, so I knew to steer clear).

My main concern, if at all, would be the snow level. That's the X factor I can't really gauge until we see how much snow falls this winter, so I'll probably have to scout out beforehand (I planned on a practice run anyways, maybe the Olallie meadows hike since that's above 5300ft). My friends know the exact spot is up in the air, just that it's in that general area and we won't settle one one until I scout conditions before the hike. Bull of the Woods was my 2nd choice, I just picked Olallie first because of the trails and the general proximity of all the lakes, but yeah I admit that'll make it more attractive to other hikers as well.

P.S. I know how bad the bugs can get, but none of us are allergic to DEET so we're prepared for it.

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retired jerry
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Re: Looking for a good backpacking location

Post by retired jerry » January 18th, 2020, 6:48 am

biting flies in July can be bad. DEET isn't real effective but it helps.

long sleeves, head net are also good

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drm
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Re: Looking for a good backpacking location

Post by drm » January 19th, 2020, 8:52 am

There are some low-altitude backpacking lakes in the Teanaway (i.e. north of Cle Elum) that usually are melted out by June. They are quite popular for that reason, but if you go midweek that will solve it. Think of Wapto Lake, for example. A large lake, presumably with lots of camping spots, and dramatic mountains rising above it. And those campfires you are going early for will help a lot with the bugs.

cfm
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Re: Looking for a good backpacking location

Post by cfm » January 21st, 2020, 4:34 pm

Badger Creek Wilderness is a good place to go during that time. A nice network of trails, not too busy,and there is Badger, Jean and Opal Lake. I know there are fish in Badger Lake, not sure about the latter two.

knote72
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Re: Looking for a good backpacking location

Post by knote72 » January 22nd, 2020, 5:20 am

cfm wrote:
January 21st, 2020, 4:34 pm
Badger Creek Wilderness is a good place to go during that time. A nice network of trails, not too busy,and there is Badger, Jean and Opal Lake. I know there are fish in Badger Lake, not sure about the latter two.
You talking the Badger Lake near Mt. Hood? Because that's a bit further out than we planned to go

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drm
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Re: Looking for a good backpacking location

Post by drm » January 27th, 2020, 3:43 pm

That's not far. The only area closer early season (June) is in the Gorge.

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