Carl Lake: Deep in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness

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Carl Lake

Beautiful fall weather at the higher elevations. What could be a better recipe for a hike into Carl Lake in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness?

The hike began in an area that was caught in a forest fire in 2003. The dense snowbrush, manzinita and lodgepole pine had already grown above my head since the fire.

After leaving the wildfire area, the trail reached Cabot Lake. It’s truly a wilderness gem.  Over the next couple of miles the trail passed three tarns (small lakes), one with a nice view of Mt. Jefferson.

After five miles I reached Carl Lake, an alpine gem. I explored the glacier-polished rim of Carl Lake. Then I began the ascent over the headwall to the north.

Stopping near Junction Lake, I marveled at the autumn foliage. It was bitter sweet. I realized in a week or two the alpine area would be covered in the heavy snows of winter.

Carl lake

Mt. Jefferson

Cabot Lake

Huckleberry leaves with their autumn colors

Red cinder cone

Nice spot for lunch

Mt. Jefferson peaking over a tarn along the trail

Carl Lake

Old wilderness sign

Small tarn along the trail

Frozen upper tarn

Upper tarn

Upper tarn on a previous year’s hike






Categories: Oregon Cascades HikesTags: ,


  1. Pictures were beautiful. What a glorious world. I also enjoy your articles. They make me feel like I’m right there. Thank you for sharing.


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