Backpack to North Lake

Rate this Adventure Oregon Wyeth Campground Day Use Area

Added by John Chau

This backpacking trip, only an hour from Portland, leads you through old growth forests, scenic scree fields to peaceful, isolated lakeside camping.

Park at the Wyeth Trailhead parking lot and start hiking south along the old road bed. At the junction with the Gorge-Wyeth Trail, bear left and follow the Wyeth Trail as it goes beneath several power lines. Follow the trail as it goes back into the woods and crosses Harphan Creek. Continue on and you will encounter four switchbacks before the trail begins to steeply climb. An old ancient water tank is off down to the right along a spur.

Keep following the trail as it crosses a small scree slope and continues to switchback again at a rock outcropping. Keep on switchbacking, go across a small creek, and continue along a boulder slope that looks across the Columbia River. Eventually, after numerous switchbacks, you will enter into the Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness. Eight switchbacks later, the trail should level out and you will reach the Wyeth-Green Point Ridge Trail Junction.

Go left at the junction and follow the trail as it sinks down across the talus slope that looks east towards Mount Defiance. Continue on as the trail drops again and crosses another talus slope. Soon, you will enter into a thickly foliaged forest and cross Lindsey Creek. Above you will be the rock dam of North Lake. Take a right at the Wyeth-North Lake trail junction and follow the path to the lake.

Set up camp at one of the isolated campsites along the east shore. As the sun begins to set, grab a headlamp and follow the lakeside trail that meanders along the northern shore over to the eastern shore. Scramble up the scree slope and capture the beauty of nightfall upon Mt. Adams to the north. Hike back to camp, build a nice fire, and rest your weary legs. The hike back is much easier as it is primarily downhill.

North Lake was once stocked with small brook trout, so bring a small fishing pole and try your luck at catching a brookie or try swimming in its chilly waters. If you do opt for a swim, keep in mind that the lake bottom has about 15+ inches of silt!

Note:
  • There is a $5 day use fee at the Wyeth trailhead (or buy a $30 Annual Northwest Forest Pass at a place like REI)
  • Hang up your food bags due to black bears frequenting the area
  • Watch out for poison oak off-trail
  • There are numerous switchbacks and steep elevation gains, so be prepared for a slow hike up to the lake
  • It is recommended to do this hike with a partner due to its remoteness and difficulty level

Pack List

  • Map of the trail
  • Water
  • Backpacking fishing pole
  • Cellphone
  • Camera
  • First Aid Kit
  • Food
  • Lighter
  • Flashlight
  • Sturdy shoes
  • Compass
  • Bear Spray
  • Light jacket
  • Sleeping Bag
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Activities:

Backpacking, Camping, Fishing, Hiking, Photography, Swimming

Skill Level:

Advanced

Season:

Year Round

Trail Type:

Out-and-Back

Distance:

13 Miles

Elev. Gain:

4220 Feet

Features:

Forest
Lake
Scenic
Wildlife

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Added by John Chau

W-EMT at Whiskeytown, soccer coach, and adventurer - making the most of every opportunity that comes my way. Check out my blog at: theruggedtrail.com and keep on adventuring! If you need a guide or an adventuring partner, shoot me an email at: johnachau@gmail.com!

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