Square Lake

Trip recommendations, current conditions, and other trail related Q&A
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christabrews
Posts: 14
Joined: August 12th, 2018, 10:07 am

Square Lake

Post by christabrews » February 11th, 2020, 5:11 pm

It's never too early to start planning your summer adventures, right? :lol:

I had the idea of a little backpacking/fishing trip later this year to Square Lake, with day hikes to Long/Round lakes nearby. I'm aware of the fire damage, but the pics from 10 years ago don't look too bad. I was looking at google maps and noticed that there's a wilderness retreat hotel at Round Lake - which makes me think that the not-crowded rating of square lake may not be accurate anymore...? Does anyone know if the retreat has significantly increased traffic to the area?

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teachpdx
Posts: 180
Joined: January 21st, 2014, 4:45 pm
Location: Hillsboro, OR

Re: Square Lake

Post by teachpdx » February 12th, 2020, 8:14 am

Square Lake is one of my favorites. There are still plenty of living trees around the lake, and a few very nice campsites with incredible views of TFJ (especially if you don't mind some bushwhacking to get to the far side of the lake).
I was up there the last weekend of May 2019 and only saw three other people in my day hikes, and only one other camping group across the lake on one of the nights (only saw their fire). And I also saw a bear near the PCT trailhead.
There were quite a few trees down on the trail to Round Lake, so I think that kept too many people from wandering up. But I think I also remember reading that trail maintenance crews were active around there this past summer clearing out all the trees.
I'm thinking about doing some snow camping there later this month, too, as a snowshoe from Santiam sno-park. But this is a great place for a couple of nights, especially if you find that perfect window between snowmelt and bugs. The trails were snow-free by late May last year.
instagram: @robo_remy

christabrews
Posts: 14
Joined: August 12th, 2018, 10:07 am

Re: Square Lake

Post by christabrews » February 15th, 2020, 7:26 am

Thanks, good to know! Did you also check out Long lake when you were there?

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teachpdx
Posts: 180
Joined: January 21st, 2014, 4:45 pm
Location: Hillsboro, OR

Re: Square Lake

Post by teachpdx » February 17th, 2020, 7:13 am

We did not make it to Long Lake. There isn't an established trail or bushwhack route as far as I know, and the brush can get pretty tight in places around the lakes. You very well may be able to make it, but you'll be covered in scratches and ticks and it may not be worth it.
Booth Lake may be a more viable alternative, and from there an off-trail to Martin Lake (much less low brush).
And I haven't done it, but from there it looks viable to scramble up to the PCT and make it a nice day loop... depending on snow levels, of course.
instagram: @robo_remy

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