Favorite Wilderness Destinations – Carl Lake, Deep in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness

With this post, I plan to update a series of posts to highlight some of my favorite wilderness destinations.

A great choice during the fall is a hike into Carl Lake in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness.

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

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

After five miles Carl Lake is reached, an alpine delight. I always enjoy exploring the glacier-polished rim of Carl Lake. Then, if you have the ambition, it time to begin the ascent over the headwall to the north.

Stopping near Junction Lake, I always marvel at the autumn foliage. This would be an excellent spot to backpack to and set up camp. In fact,¬† over the years I’ve met a handful of elk hunters doing just that.

As I turn around and begin the hike back to the trailhead, I make sure to savor each vista along the way.

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


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