backpack: Jefferson Park

On this two night backpacking trip in the Mount Jefferson Wilderness, we hiked in via the Whitewater Trail and camped at Rock Lake.

Total mileage for all three days: 18.7 miles with 2,400 ft. gain

Day 1: hike in to camp at Rock Lake

about 6 miles with 1,800 ft. elevation gain

We hiked in via the Whitewater Trail to the PCT, then into Jefferson Park.

Mount Jefferson Wilderness - Jefferson Park backpacking trip

Mount Jefferson Wilderness sign

Mount Jefferson Wilderness - Jefferson Park backpacking trip

view looking south from the Whitewater Trail

Mount Jefferson Wilderness - Jefferson Park backpacking trip

Mount Jefferson!

Mount Jefferson Wilderness - Jefferson Park backpacking trip

crossing Whitewater Creek

Mount Jefferson Wilderness - Jefferson Park backpacking trip

first wildflower meadow

Mount Jefferson Wilderness - Jefferson Park backpacking trip

Whitewater Creek

Our campsite was at Rock Lake, which we had all to ourselves the first night. When we arrived at our campsite, we met three very nice guys (hello Gary, Alan and Dave!). We had been warned that the mosquitos were terrible, so we were prepared for the worst. Fortunately, they really weren’t that bad. I sprayed my clothing with Sawyer Permethrin and used Sawyer Picardin on my body… and it worked! Only two bites.

Mount Jefferson Wilderness - Jefferson Park backpacking trip

entering Jefferson Park

Mount Jefferson Wilderness - Jefferson Park backpacking trip

Scout Lake with view of Park Butte

Mount Jefferson Wilderness - Jefferson Park backpacking trip

Mount Jefferson and Scout Lake

Mount Jefferson Wilderness - Jefferson Park backpacking trip

heading to our camp area at Rock Lake

Mount Jefferson Wilderness - Jefferson Park backpacking trip

my tent at Rock Lake

Mount Jefferson Wilderness - Jefferson Park backpacking trip

paintbush wildflowers

Mount Jefferson Wilderness - Jefferson Park backpacking trip

hiking on the PCT to Russell Lake

Mount Jefferson Wilderness - Jefferson Park backpacking trip

sunset view from camp

 

Day 2: exploring Jefferson Park

4.7 miles with 600 ft gain + about 2 miles in the evening

We explored the Jefferson Park area, beginning at the PCT and heading north to Russell Lake.

Mount Jefferson Wilderness - Jefferson Park backpacking trip

PCT sign

Mount Jefferson Wilderness - Jefferson Park backpacking trip

Russell Lake

Mount Jefferson Wilderness - Jefferson Park backpacking trip

view of Mount Jefferson from Russell Lake

We then hiked south to the junction for Park Lake and the South Fork Breitenbush River. Both sides of the river were literally covered with wildflowers.

Mount Jefferson Wilderness - Jefferson Park backpacking trip

South Fork Breitenbush River

Mount Jefferson Wilderness - Jefferson Park backpacking trip

wildflowers next to the river

After exploring this area and having lunch by the river, we continued back to the PCT and south to Scout Lake and Bays Lake.

Mount Jefferson Wilderness - Jefferson Park backpacking trip

Park Lake

Mount Jefferson Wilderness - Jefferson Park backpacking trip

making our way around Bays Lake

Mount Jefferson Wilderness - Jefferson Park backpacking trip

Bays Lake

In the evening, we did a short hike to take photos at dusk, my favorite time of day to be running around with a camera in my hand.

Mount Jefferson Wilderness - Jefferson Park backpacking trip

Rock Lake camp

Day 3: hike out to the trailhead

about 6 miles with 1,800 ft. elevation loss

Mount Jefferson Wilderness - Jefferson Park backpacking trip

hiking out on the PCT

Mount Jefferson Wilderness - Jefferson Park backpacking trip

Goodbye for now, Mount Jefferson!

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