Salem, OR: Breitenbush Lake to Jefferson Park via Park Ridge

Breitenbush Lake - Jefferson Park. 7.5 mile RT to the Ridge, 11 to Russell Lake.
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Breitenbush Lake - Jefferson Park. 7.5 mile RT to the Ridge, 11 to Russell Lake.

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.

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 17.1

Waypoints

Trailhead

Location: 44.7651485, -121.7870225

15-AUG-09 10:55:43AM
Park at a small pond just before Breitenbush Lake.

01

Location: 44.7651802, -121.7870536

15-AUG-09 5:56:19PM
Bear right onto main trail

Pyramid Butte

Location: 44.7596247, -121.7997766

02

Location: 44.7578261, -121.7967851

15-AUG-09 11:33:57AM
To Pyramid Butte - stay left to get to Park Ridge

Trail

Location: 44.756044, -121.7966866

03

Location: 44.7547169, -121.7982135

15-AUG-09 11:42:39AM
Bridge

Trail Maintenance

Location: 44.7538955, -121.7988539

04

Location: 44.7522154, -121.8022101

15-AUG-09 5:18:12PM
Cairns dot the landscape, especially above treeline. Keep a sharp eye out to follow these.

First View of Jefferson

Location: 44.7496744, -121.8027163

05

Location: 44.7371267, -121.7992857

15-AUG-09 12:22:18PM
Cairns dot the landscape, especially above treeline. Keep a sharp eye out to follow these.

06

Location: 44.7344544, -121.8008119

Many tracks diverge in this area. Follow the cairns.

Pond

Location: 44.7344029, -121.8010426

07

Location: 44.7339952, -121.800659

It's easy to get off of the path in the snow and rocks - keep a sharp eye out for the cairns.

08

Location: 44.7336924, -121.8004528

15-AUG-09 12:39:02PM
Beautiful campsite

Campsite

Location: 44.7335951, -121.8009996

Cairn Trail

Location: 44.7313543, -121.800549

Snow Crossing

Location: 44.7303481, -121.8013215

Park Ridge South Approach

Location: 44.7290371, -121.8014717

Mt Hood

Location: 44.7288847, -121.8025339

Park Ridge

Location: 44.7287894, -121.8022764

Amazing viewpoints abound here. Climb to the West along the Ridge for more views, or descend East and turn South into the Park itself to sit at the foot of Jefferson.

Alpine lake at Mt Jeff

Location: 44.7286484, -121.8021798

Descending into Jeff Park

Location: 44.7228323, -121.8012142

Wildflowers

Location: 44.7188987, -121.8025875

Russell Lake

Location: 44.7153613, -121.8016434

Don't forget the bugspray - and the fishing rod. But you won't be alone here.

Russell Lake

Location: 44.7153613, -121.8017721