A Beautiful Autumn Hike to Jefferson Park

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Jeff Park

Jefferson Park is a series of large alpine meadows below the western summit of 10,497-foot Mt. Jefferson. There are many small to larger lakes sprinkled throughout the area. On a warm, sunny summer day it is one of the most popular hiking/backpacking destinations in the Pacific Northwest, and rightly so.

In early October I drove to the Whitewater Trailhead on the western boundary of Mt. Jefferson Wilderness. The trail had been closed for two years due to a 2017 intense wildfire covering 22 square miles in the area.

For the first several miles the Trail climbed through burnt trees before reaching a ridge and later passing through a saddle.

At four miles the Pacific Crest Trail was met. Heading north on the PCT, Jefferson Park arrived in less than one mile. I had left the burnt trees behind and now was rewarded with large stretches of huckleberry bushes turning red.

I continued to hike north through the meadows to Russell Lake, passing Scout Lake on the way. The magnificent summit of Mt. Jefferson was only 2 1/4 miles in the distance as the crow flies.

On the return hike to the car I was entertained near a rockslide by a pika. It seemed to be greatly enjoying the sunshine.

A wonderful wilderness hike indeed.

Mt. Jefferson from Jefferson park


Huckleberry bushes in their autumn glory

Jefferson Park

Park Butte from Jefferson Park

Long look down to Pamelia Lake

Much of the trail passes through the aftereffects of the 2017 wildfire

Jefferson Park

Mt. Jefferson

Jefferson Park

Vine Maple regrowing in the burnt forest













Categories: Oregon Cascades HikesTags: , ,


  1. Thank you so much for taking us there John.

  2. These are all so beautiful. The colors and quiet reflections. The encroachment of winter on the land. Thank you!

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