Pacific Crest Trail: Best Weekend - Sky Lakes Wilderness, OR

Hundreds of lakes and numerous campsites dot a 6,000-foot plateau on this 28.7-mile leg.
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Hundreds of lakes and numerous campsites dot a 6,000-foot plateau on this 28.7-mile leg.

While most of this route is in a quiet conifer forest, a few spots open up to head-spinning views. The best: the string of volcanoes visible from 9,495-foot Mt. McLoughlin (via a 3.5-mile side trail) and 7,582-foot Devils Peak (via a .5-mile spur). Ditch the PCT in two spots for more-scenic parallel trails. One is Red Lake Trail 987, which leads to secluded campsites above Island and Dee Lakes; the other is Sky Lakes Trail 3762. And add a day or two for a side loop on the Isherwood Trail to fish for rainbows at Lake Notasha, swim in Elizabeth and Isherwood Lakes, and camp above Heavenly Twin Lake. Late summer has fewer bugs and ripe huckleberries.

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 46.1

Waypoints

PCT1147

Location: 42.3957824707031, -122.291435241699

From OR 140, head NE on PCT. Side trip: Hitch L to visit restaurant at Fish Lake Resort 2 mi. away

PCT1148

Location: 42.3965492248535, -122.289970397949

Cross a nicely-flowing creek

PCT1149

Location: 42.431884765625, -122.26171875

Go L @ trail jct.

PCT1150

Location: 42.4335823059082, -122.268699645996

Keep straight @ jct. with spur leading to Freye Lake

PCT1151

Location: 42.4716987609863, -122.280166625977

Stay straight; N tip of Fourmile Lake stretches out to the E

PCT1152

Location: 42.5056343078613, -122.253967285156

Pass Christi's Spring

PCT1153

Location: 42.5137672424316, -122.230751037598

Stay straight on official PCT. Worthy alternate: Bear L onto Red Lake Trail to travel alongside many scenic lakes; only 0.1 mi. longer than the official trail

PCT1154

Location: 42.5387153625488, -122.241218566895

Set up camp at Red Lake

PCT1155

Location: 42.5490684509277, -122.229835510254

Stay straight; Red Lake Trail rejoins the PCT

PCT1156

Location: 42.5580177307129, -122.218803405762

Bear L to stay on PCT, which travels the ridge above this lake-filled area. Scenic alternate: Follow Sky Lakes side trail to the NE past small lakes with abundant campsites; a fair amount of ups and downs

PCT1157

Location: 42.641918182373, -122.211982727051

Stay straight @ jct. where Sky Lakes Trail meets up with PCT; savor views of Lucifer from the Devils Peak shoulder

PCT1158

Location: 42.6489677429199, -122.207466125488

Cross creek with nice camp

PCT1159

Location: 42.6536827087402, -122.205047607422

Creek crossing

PCT1160

Location: 42.6575164794922, -122.206581115723

Creek crossing

PCT1161

Location: 42.6543502807617, -122.211715698242

Cross creek

PCT1162

Location: 42.6563682556152, -122.213752746582

Go R @ Seven Lakes Trail jct.

PCT1163

Location: 42.6575508117676, -122.212333679199

Cross creek

PCT1164

Location: 42.6638832092285, -122.208801269531

Go straight; Seven Lakes Trail enters from the L

PCT1165

Location: 42.6684341430664, -122.201286315918

Cross Honeymoon Creek

PCT1166

Location: 42.6831817626953, -122.172317504883

Stay straight @ jct. with Sevenmile Trail