View Full Version : PCT: Oregon section

01-04-2010, 15:01
I've been thinking of doing Oregon this summer as my first PCT hike and trip out west. Time to get out of my rutt of hiking the AT and expand my horizons :)

South to North or North to South?

I'd be arriving in Portland, likely by train (72 hours). Going N>S would save an extra day of traveling.

If I go S>N, I imagine there is a bus from Portland to Medford? Easiest point to get onto the trail from Medford? Out 140 maybe and skip a few miles.

Time to go?

I understand the mosquiteos are really bad in July, but water gets scarce in August. Split the problems by starting in mid July? In which case would it be better to go S>N?

Can I really expect to do 20 miles days without walking dawn to dusk? Resupply points are few and far between - one is 150+ miles, the other 130+ miles. I really hate to have to carry 10+ days worth of food!

Frame pack? If I have to carry a lot of food and sometimes water, I'm thinking I might be better off with a frame pack, though my old Camp Trails weighs 7 pounds empty!

Have any of the forest fires over the last few years impacted the trail much? Can I use my wood burning ZIP stove?

Anything else to consider? I have a 30 year old guide book, guess I better buy a new one!

01-04-2010, 15:16
I'd go south to north in August. You'll have a much better time without the mosquitoes. Water shouldn't be a problem except in a couple sections, snow could be. A zip stove would work but may be banned. A canister stove would probably work best. Oregon is really pretty easy and really scenic.

There's no stretch where you have to go 150 miles or even 130 miles.

Make sure to take the Rim Trail at Crater Lake and the Eagle Creek Trail rather than the official PCT nearing Cascade Locks

01-04-2010, 15:17
2 miles per hour, 9 hours a day

Ashland to Hyatt Lake Resort 23.6 mi
2649 ft EG
1.5 days
16.2 mi/day
1817 ft/day

Hyatt Lake Resort resupply
Arrive: 8-02-10
Detour: 0.75 mi - walk
Exit Pt: Road fork near campground
Tiny store at the resort. Coin-op laundry, Package drop.

Hyatt Lake Resort to Crater Lake Post Office 81.8 mi
7234 ft EG
4.9 days
16.5 mi/day
1462 ft/day

Crater Lake Post Office resupply
Arrive: 8-07-10
Detour: 3.0 mi - hitchhike
Exit Pt: Post Office
Please ship packages so that they will arrive a few days before you reach the post office. Restaurant, Cafeteria, Posh Lodge, and store

Crater Lake Post Office to Cascade Summit 79.6 mi
6376 ft EG
4.8 days
16.7 mi/day
1335 ft/day

Cascade Summit resupply
Arrive: 8-12-10
Detour: 1.5 mi - hitchhike
Exit Pt: Pengra Pass

Cascade Summit to Elk Lake Resort 46.1 mi
3541 ft EG
2.8 days
16.7 mi/day
1284 ft/day

Elk Lake Resort resupply
Arrive: 8-14-10
Detour: 1.25 mi - walk
Exit Pt: Island Meadow Trail
Small store, can mail resupply packages here.

Elk Lake Resort to Sisters 31 mi
3350 ft EG
1.9 days
16.2 mi/day
1755 ft/day

Sisters resupply
Arrive: 8-16-10
Detour: 15.0 mi - hitchhike
Exit Pt: Highway 242
Nice town with motels, bookstores, and supermarkets. Further supplies can be reached by hitchhiking to Bend

Sisters to Big Lake Youth Camp 11.4 mi
1300 ft EG
0.7 days
16.2 mi/day
1843 ft/day

Big Lake Youth Camp resupply
Arrive: 8-17-10
Detour: 0.7 mi - walk
Exit Pt: Broad trail to BLYC
Big Lake Youth Camp Website (http://www.biglake.org/)Camp accepts resupply packages. Friendly place with showers and meals available for thru-hikers.

Big Lake Youth Camp to Government Camp 101.4 mi
9250 ft EG
6.1 days
16.5 mi/day
1505 ft/day

Government Camp resupply
Arrive: 8-23-10
Detour: 6.0 mi - hitchhike
Exit Pt: Highway 35
Restaurants, Motel, and Grocery Store

Government Camp to Timberline Lodge 5 mi
1805 ft EG
0.4 days
13.2 mi/day
4774 ft/day

Timberline Lodge resupply
Arrive: 8-24-10
Detour: 0.0 mi - on trail
Exit Pt: on trail
Timberline Lodge (http://www.timberlinelodge.com/) has a cafeteria, restaurant, tourist shops. They will hold packages for a rate.

Timberline Lodge to Cascade Locks 49.3 mi
4140 ft EG
3 days
16.6 mi/day
1394 ft/day

Cascade Locks resupply
Arrive: 8-27-10
Detour: 0.5 mi - walk
Exit Pt: SE Undine Street
Stores, Restaurants, Motels, etc.


01-04-2010, 16:05
I would definitely edit that resupply chart to be more realistic. You don't need to go to Government Camp when it's only another 5 miles to Timberline Lodge. And I don't even know what Cascade Summit is...

The way I'd do (and have done, twice) the resupply is this:

Ashland -> Hyatt Lake -> Crater Lake MAZAMA STORE (NOT THE POST OFFICE. You can't hitch in crater lake NP and they are serious about it, but you can send packages to the mazama village store) -> Shelter Cove (free pick-up but requires you to send it UPS instead of USPS) -> Big Lake Youth Camp -> Timberline Lodge -> exit at Cascade Locks.

Yes, you can easily do 20s without walking dawn to dusk. In Oregon in august the days will be very long and even if you only hike 2 to 2.5 miles per hour (It's easy to go faster, in my opinion, depending on your age) it would only take, as sly suggested, about 9 hours of hiking to go 20 miles. And 9 hours is not much in the scope of a 14 hour daylight period, especially when you're on a section hike and not a camping trip.

I would go south to north (northbound from Ashland) starting about August 1st. No later than August 7th or so. I personally view that as the sweet spot for starting north in Oregon. I started north from the Oregon border July 25th one year and July 27th the next. In 2008 the winter snow conditions made for lots of meltwater breeding grounds and the mosquitos were bad but in 2009, with similar dates, there were hardly any mosquitos compared to 2008. I never even put my head net on, although I'd obviously advise DEET or similar.

To get to the trail you can take the amtrak from Portland to Ashland. I know they have a bus stop there. According to amtrak.com it's $65 and it's two legs, a train ride from Portland to Klamath Falls on the 11 Coast Starlight and a bus from Klamath Falls, OR to Ashland, OR. You can then hitch on the I-5 on-ramp to the trail, which is only a few miles away. You could also try and rustle up a ride from the many people in town who are aware of the trail and thru and section hikers. I've never had trouble getting a ride back to the trail from Ashland either year.

you don't need a frame pack, especially not an external frame. If that 7 pound figure is supposed to sound light, you should be aware that my base weight, the weight of all my gear not including worn clothes, food and fuel is 8 pounds. I'm just trying to give you perspective. I'd highly advise going with a lighter pack. Even if you're dead set on some sort of frame, you can get many internal frame packs that weight 3 or 4 pounds or less empty. that's half the weight of your listed frame pack, and no loss to you.

I don't mean to open the can of worms that is gear and ultralight strategy (or hell, even NOT HEAVY strategy) but be aware that doing 20s successfully does require you to not carry a big giant murderpack. You want your pack with all your gear not including food/water/fuel to weigh under 20 pounds, absolute maximum. More than that and suddenly you're going to be enjoying yourself less. And the risk of injury skyrockets. And 20 pounds is not even light. For maximum enjoyment I'd advise 15 pounds or less.

Hope you get out there and enjoy yourself!

01-04-2010, 16:29
My resupply for Oregon ended up being:
Crater Lake (I think you could actually just shop in that store if you are not super picky. I didn't know you can't hitch. I hitched very easily.)
Shelter Cove (the store was lots better stocked than I expected. I could have shopped there.)
Elk Lake (an unexpected ride into Bend from Elk Lake let me skip a planned resupply in Sisters. The store there is completely inadequate for resupply.)
Government Camp (You could shop in the store there. Easy to get a ride from Timberline Lodge.)

Places to eat (stretch those resupplies)
Fish Lake (breakfast was great!)
Restaurant (Annie's something) at Mazama Village (all you can eat breakfast!)
Elk Lake (close to the trail, burgers not bad. Micro-brews very good!)
Big Lake (all you can eat!)
Timberline Lodge (all you can eat breakfast or lunch!)

I hiked Oregon in July this year. I think I left Ashland around the 13th and ended up in Cascade Locks on the 30th or so. I had horrible mosquitoes. They did seem to be on the wane by the end of the month.

01-04-2010, 16:34
Thanks for the advice Sly and Meta!

I guess I could get an amtrack ticket right to Ashland from Boston then, likely for the same price. No sense stopping at Portland. Hadn't thought to check that route.

I can get my gear down sub-20 easy. 16-18 is typical for me spring time on the AT. I'm just worried about food bulk, would like to avoid mail drops if possible. I'll likely do a long hike on the AT in the spring to get into shape, which should hold me over until mid summer.

Guess my next step is to order a guide book and start to study it.

01-04-2010, 16:43
I would definitely edit that resupply chart to be more realistic. You don't need to go to Government Camp when it's only another 5 miles to Timberline Lodge. And I don't even know what Cascade Summit is...

I agree but I included all the possible resupplies and link to pct planner. There's a Cascade Summit, I resupplied there (Shelter Cove Resort). Without digging out my book I believe it's near Crescent Lake.

01-04-2010, 16:50
Without digging out my book I believe it's near Crescent Lake.

It's on Odell lake. Check out aerial map, it shows the trail (or what I assume is the trail).


01-04-2010, 17:05
Guess my next step is to order a guide book and start to study it.

I have the most recent guide for OR and WA (2007) in brand new condition and will include Yogi's pages. Shipped $23.


Let me know

01-04-2010, 21:30
Time to get out of my rutt of hiking the AT and expand my horizons :)

Good for you Slo-go'en.

There is some GREAT hiking in Oregon. One of those great hikes is on the PCT through OR.

Can't really comment on a N to S OR PCT hike. Never diid that.

In addition to Amtrak there is the International Rogue Valley/Medford Airport w/ connecting bus/shuttle service to downtown Ashland. Ashland has everything a thru-hiker could need including a hostel, hotels, outfitter, restaurants, conveniently located PO, Lithia Park(quite nice), local bus system(takes you from downtown back to I 5 where it's a short easy hitch back to the trail), supermarket, and great co-op(cafe, prepared foods, wide selection of inexpensively priced bulk bin items, bit pricey on other organic items). I resupplied in Ashland for all of OR by mailing out 4 or 5 priority boxes. This is not really necessary for most thru-hikers though. Plenty of resupply opps along the way. Several of the nice diversions/alternates of the PCT take you by places like Elk Lake, Fish Lake, Odell Lake/Shelter Cove Resort, Hyatt Lake, Big Lake Youth Camp, Diamond lake, etc. Some of these places are scenic, have restaurants/meals, and additional resupply supplementation, etc. Yes, stretch those major resupply pts.! - Sbhikes. - I don't think I ever hauled more than 6 days of food averaging mid 20's/day. - Yes, you can easily do 20s without walking dawn to dusk. In Oregon in august the days will be very long and even if you only hike 2 to 2.5 miles per hour (It's easy to go faster, in my opinion, depending on your age) it would only take, as sly suggested, about 9 hours of hiking to go 20 miles. And 9 hours is not much in the scope of a 14 hour daylight period, especially when you're on a section hike and not a camping trip.- Meta - Good pt. Well said.
The OR PCT is a beautiful hike though so I wouldn't rush it!

Couple of resupply opinions:

Crater Lake/Mazama Village Store is practically on the trail but you have to designate on your resupply package you want it to go to Mazama Village Store. *One of the places I think a resupply box was necessary for me and many others.

Whether you decide to send a resupply box to Timberline Lodge(right on the trail, good pizza, tell them you are thru-hiking at the cafeteria/restaurant) or do a resupply in Govt Camp understand that Govt camp is just a few miles down the road at the base of Mt Hood while TL is on Mt Hood. Most hikers could find adequate resupply in GC. It's a relatively easy hitch down to Govt Camp and back up to the lodge.

When I've been on the PCT in OR some sections at lower less windy wetter elevs. held voracious mosquitos of biblical plague proportions while other higher windy less wet sections were bearable. I guess it depends on your location and timing in OR on the PCT.

Yes, take the Crater Lake Rim Tr. It's significantly more scenic but do plan on where you will get water before you leave the lodge area where water is readily available. Not going to give it all away, but taking the Eagle Creek Trail alternate is a rather stunning way to finish your NOBO PCT hike in OR. Take it! The main reason it's not the PCT official route is because it's not suitable for horses which you share the PCT with.

As an aside, and without getting into a big discussion of UL and Lite wt backpacking, I totally agree w/ Meta. It's time to ditch a 7 lb giant Murderpack(LOL)!

Sly, Meta, and Sbhikes covered most of the things you need to know, but my 2 cents. Most of everything that has been discussed is in the OR PCT Guidebook.
I would take Sly's offer of getting Yogi's town guides and the OR PCT guide for $23!!!
Much of what has been said will be clearer when you see the maps and read the guidebook.

Enjoy the PCT in OR. It really is a great hike!

01-04-2010, 22:02
I took up Sly's offer of the guide book, so I guess I'm commited now!

I've been up in the Canadian Rockies a couple of times and once spent a whole summer wandering around Yellowstone and near-by areas, but this will be my first trip really far out west. Should be interesting.

01-04-2010, 22:44
Enjoy it! You've picked a great place to hike. I used Meta's resuppy options minus Hiatt. Don't know what version of the guidebook Sly is sending, but just in case it's older, Olallie Lake resort is closed.

I too would go NOBO. Better ending, especially if you leave the PCT and get to Cascade Locks via the Eagle Creek Trail.

I know you want to avoid maildrops, but I would highly recommend them, unless you're comfortable eating just about anything that happens to be available at the resort stores, most of which is really for RV campers who don't have to care about weight.

With PCT hikers passing through, the hiker boxes should be charged, but I don't like to count on them. I'd say the Mazama Store is the only one that had a decent selection, but again, I suppose it depends on what you like to eat.

I doubt you'll have any problem doing the miles without hiking into the evening.

Good luck, and enjoy!

01-05-2010, 18:04
Also, if you don't like packages and you're flexible about what you like to eat, here's my personal feelings on purchased resupply (not sent) in Oregon:

Buy in Ashland and carry straight to Crater Lake (I can't remember the distance on this, but it's less than 150 miles). Use the resorts like Fish Lake and Hyatt Lake (or the Green Springs Inn, accessible from green springs summit data point) to cut down on the number of dinners/lunches you need to carry (both these resorts are in this section and have good restaurants).

At Crater Lake Mazama Village, buy at the store. They often have a fair selection, unless you get shafted by a big group of thru-hikers. they resupply the store pretty often so, if you're flexible, you shouldn't have any trouble buying from the store, especially since it's not that far to the next resupply point. Buy enough food to get you to Shelter Cove (80 miles? check the databook/guidebook on any mileages I give, it's been a few months).

At Shelter Cove you can buy some food that you can make work, but as Jester said, it's not a great selection. you CAN do it if you really want to, though, especially considering the hiker box. Worst case scenario you walk the mile up to willamette pass and hitch down to the town that's near there. Or talk to RV/camper people at shelter cove and try and scare up a ride to town, it's not that far. Get enough food to get you to Santiam Pass (Mile 2006.9 or something similar, I think that's about 88 miles).

At Santiam Pass, hitch down to Sisters or Bend, or call the famous Lloyd Gust to come pick you up at the pass. His number is available in yogi's guide and on the PCTA website. Resupply at the supermarkets in Sisters or Bend with food for 100 miles (I'm actually sure of this mileage, for once) to get to Timberline.

At Timberline, hitch down to Government Camp. Get food at the stores there for 45-55 miles to get you to Cascade Locks.

Mission accomplished! Oregon with no packages.

however, honestly, I'd advise you to send a box to Shelter Cove via UPS. That's the only really risky one. In 2008 and 2009 I got a box there and was glad for it. I could've got food from the store but the selection was mediocre at best. The rest of it is fine to buy at, though.

01-05-2010, 19:01
Wow, lots of info on this topic. I didn't read everything but I would hike south to north. Much nicer scenary up north and I thought Southern Oregon was kinda dull and boring (really just the day north of Ashland).

One can probably hike 20 miles a day there without being in great shape if you stay with it (days will be long). Southern Oregon is a great gentle place to get your trail legs.

There is no reason to carry 10+ days of food. There are all types of places to eat and resupply in Oregon.

I would recommend staying in Sisters (or hitching to Bend which might be cheaper and have more services). Sisters had the most expensive lodging on the PCT but was probably worth it. Coming from this New Yorker, the brick oven place in town was the best 'Za on the PCT and the Bakery IMO, is way underated and probably gives Stehekin a run for its money