Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In


Oregon Trails

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.

Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+ Sign up for Outside+ today.

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



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


Location: 42.3965492248535, -122.289970397949

Cross a nicely-flowing creek


Location: 42.431884765625, -122.26171875

Go L @ trail jct.


Location: 42.4335823059082, -122.268699645996

Keep straight @ jct. with spur leading to Freye Lake


Location: 42.4716987609863, -122.280166625977

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


Location: 42.5056343078613, -122.253967285156

Pass Christi’s Spring


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


Location: 42.5387153625488, -122.241218566895

Set up camp at Red Lake


Location: 42.5490684509277, -122.229835510254

Stay straight; Red Lake Trail rejoins the PCT


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


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


Location: 42.6489677429199, -122.207466125488

Cross creek with nice camp


Location: 42.6536827087402, -122.205047607422

Creek crossing


Location: 42.6575164794922, -122.206581115723

Creek crossing


Location: 42.6543502807617, -122.211715698242

Cross creek


Location: 42.6563682556152, -122.213752746582

Go R @ Seven Lakes Trail jct.


Location: 42.6575508117676, -122.212333679199

Cross creek


Location: 42.6638832092285, -122.208801269531

Go straight; Seven Lakes Trail enters from the L


Location: 42.6684341430664, -122.201286315918

Cross Honeymoon Creek


Location: 42.6831817626953, -122.172317504883

Stay straight @ jct. with Sevenmile Trail

How to Pack for Backcountry Skiing

Get to know the winter safety gear you need in your pack.