|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Winding through a Cascade forest, this North approach to Park Ridge is less popular than other trails (thanks to the daunting road in to Breitenbush lake); but you should still expect to run into others day hikers, backpackers, and PCT through hikers.
Starting at a mudpuddle pond just West of the Lake itself, you quickly disappear into the woods. The trees, typical of many Cascades forests, don't provide much shade though - be sure to bring sunscreen and plenty of water, or a filter - there are a few small creeks offering refill. Along the way you catch beautiful views ranging from Jefferson itself to Mount Hood. Even in August (thanks to a late, cold spring?) the wildflowers were in abundance. So were the mosquitos. Huckleberries were not out yet, but are a possibility along the way.
The trail up to Park Ridge is a good workout, but a gentle gradient along the way. If you choose to descend into the park itself, you lose (and then gain on the way back) 2000 feet in 2 miles. This being on the PCT, the grade is never steep - but it can be challenging for those not used to long climbs.