Southern Oregon/Fremont-Winema National Forest

Trip recommendations, current conditions, and other trail related Q&A
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gentryb16
Posts: 1
Joined: April 26th, 2021, 12:06 pm

Southern Oregon/Fremont-Winema National Forest

Post by gentryb16 » April 26th, 2021, 12:16 pm

Hi there! New to the forum and planning a trip for next week. Hoping for a solid backpacking trail (preferably a loop) that is around 15-20 miles round trip. Planning on sleeping the first night near the trailhead and the second night on the trail itself. Was looking at Fremont-Winema National Forest, particularly Mountain Lakes Loop Trail. Coming up dry on conditions reporting in regards to snow, and contacted the rangers who said they won't go up to investigate for a couple weeks.

If anyone could shed light on the current trail conditions, or has another recommendation in Southern Oregon that would be great.

Thanks so much!

Aimless
Posts: 1715
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:02 pm
Location: Lake Oswego

Re: Southern Oregon/Fremont-Winema National Forest

Post by Aimless » April 26th, 2021, 5:55 pm

Next week is rather early in the season for trails to be clear of snow near the Cascade crest. Without eyewitness reports, the best fallback is to examine Snotel telemetry. Although there are no Snotel sites in the Mountain Lakes wilderness, there is one at Fourmile Lake at just under 6000 ft. and a dozen miles or so NW of Mountain Lakes, near the Sky Lakes wilderness. That site shows about a foot of snow as of today. Another site nearby, Billie Creek Divide at about 5250 ft, shows around 8 inches of snow.

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Charley
Posts: 1555
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm
Location: Southeast Portland

Re: Southern Oregon/Fremont-Winema National Forest

Post by Charley » April 26th, 2021, 9:53 pm

gentryb16 wrote:
April 26th, 2021, 12:16 pm
Hi there! New to the forum and planning a trip for next week. Hoping for a solid backpacking trail (preferably a loop) that is around 15-20 miles round trip. Planning on sleeping the first night near the trailhead and the second night on the trail itself. Was looking at Fremont-Winema National Forest, particularly Mountain Lakes Loop Trail. Coming up dry on conditions reporting in regards to snow, and contacted the rangers who said they won't go up to investigate for a couple weeks.
I don't have any timely trail condition reports, but I would say that any route in the Mountain Lakes right now or next week would require a lot of walking on snow, and possibly navigating without any sign of the trail. If that's your cup of tea, you will not likely be disappointed!

Here's a great resource for spring and early summer backpacking routes in the state:
https://www.oregonhikers.org/field_guid ... ackpacking

I've done the Mill Creek Loop in April one year, and it worked out really well. Might be too long, based on your preferred mileage.
https://www.oregonhikers.org/field_guid ... _Loop_Hike

On the other hand, there are quite a number of river trails on the above list that would be suitable for that mileage, as well as snow free.

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