Tag Archives: South Breitenbush Trail

Bear Point – 7/22/2019

We had passed the Bear Point Trail twice when hiking into Jefferson Park on the South Breitenbush Trail, most recently last August. (post) It was finally time to tackle that trail which gains almost 1700′ in just over one and three quarters of a mile to the site of a former fire lookout.

We set off from the South Breitenbush Trailhead a little after 6am hoping to get the climb over before the day heated up too much.


We followed the familiar South Breitenbush Trail for 2.2 miles to a signed junction.
IMG_3870Lots of spent beargrass along the trail.


At the junction we went left on the Bear Point Trail.

At first this trail continued the gradual climb that we’d been making on the South Breitenbush Trail as we passed around a spring set in a green forest.

IMG_3886Thimbleberry bushes near the spring.

20190722_072357Washington lily

IMG_4179Spring near the trail.

Shortly after passing the spring the trail began to climb in earnest via a series of swithbacks. The hillside below Bear Point was covered in talus slopes, the perfect spot to see a pika.


IMG_3901Spotted the first pika of the day at this switchback (it’s on one of the red rocks)

The hillside was pretty dry and the trees began to give way to manzanita, chinquapin and snowbush which allowed for some excellent views of Mt. Jefferson and the surrounding area as we trudged up the switchbacks.


IMG_3921The Three Pyramids, Bachelor Mountain, and Coffin Mountain in the distance with Triangulation Peak in a cloud shadow along the near ridge to the right.

IMG_3928Mt. Jefferson with Three Fingered Jack now fully visible.

IMG_3935Three Fingered Jack

IMG_4169Grouse in the brush to the left of the trail.



As we neared the top the trees began to reappear in larger numbers and the beargrass was still blooming.


We spotted the second pika of the day in a talus slope just below the summit.

Despite the 3000′ of elevation gain to reach the summit the climb wasn’t particularly steep until the final 100 yards or so.

IMG_3981Almost to the top.

IMG_3989Bear Point summit.

The views from the summit were amazing and there were a few wildflowers scattered about. We would have loved to have spent quite a bit of time relaxing there but the mosquitoes were a nuisance and there was no breeze to keep them at bay.

IMG_4018The Three Sisters and Three Fingered Jack


IMG_4013Park Ridge (post)

IMG_3991Bear Lake, Dinah-Mo Peak, and Park Ridge

IMG_4146Triangulation Peak and Devils Peak

IMG_4148Boca Cave below Triangulation Peak (post)

IMG_4147Devils Peak (high point to the right of the ridge), which we had just hiked to a couple of weeks earlier (post)

IMG_4152Mt. Hood and Olallie Butte (The Breitenbush Cascades are also out there amid the trees.)

IMG_4137Mt. Hood with Slideout and Mildred Lakes in the forest below.


IMG_3996Columbine and fleabane with Bear Lake in the background.

IMG_4022Snow patch near the summit.

The round trip to Bear Point is just 7.6 miles so we had some energy left and with the early start coupled with not stopping for very long due to the bugs we also had some time so we decided to tackle another challenge and visit an off trail lake. Due to the lake being off-trail I’m not going to go into much detail although it probably wouldn’t take a lot of detective work to figure it out. This was a challenge to reach and required route finding and navigational skills.
IMG_4031Typical terrain, it’s hard to tell here but this was a steep hillside.

IMG_4023There were tons of these butterflies around.


IMG_4045Crossing a talus slope.

IMG_4050More typical conditions.

IMG_4053Pond near the lake.

IMG_4055Bird at the pond.

IMG_4058The lake

IMG_4076Spirea and shooting stars

20190722_094856Crab spider with a bee

IMG_4080The lake


IMG_4104Lupine and beargrass

There were of course mosquitoes here too, being July and near water, so we didn’t linger and were soon attempting to follow our route back. It was slow going but we managed to get back just fine. It was a fun and challenging day and it felt good to be able to practice our off-trail skills a bit. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Bear Point

South Breitenbush Trail to Jefferson Park 8/11/18

We kicked off six days of hiking with a visit to Jefferson Park. Since 2011 Jefferson Park had been an annual destination until last year when we were forced to skip our visit due to the Whitewater Fire. For this years visit we started at the South Breitenbush Trailhead.

This was our second time on this trail with our first coming in 2013 (post). We had remembered that the trail was quite rocky, but forgotten how much more of a climb it was than either the Whitewater (post) or Woodpecker Ridge (post) trails. The Whitewater Trail remains closed for now due to the fire while the Woodpecker Ridge Trail is open but undergoing repairs by the Forest Service. The other option to reach Jefferson Park is from the north via the PCT over Park Ridge (post) but one time driving the road to that trailhead was enough for us.

We followed the South Breitenbush Trail uphill through the trees along the increasingly rocky tread.


At the two mile mark we found that the Forest Service had replaced the sign for the Bear Point Trail, a hike that is on our schedule for next year.
South Breitbenbush Trail junction with the Bear Point TrailBear Point Trail sign 2013

IMG_9831Bear Point Trail sign 2018

There aren’t many views of Mt. Jefferson along the lower portion of the trail and on this day the mountain was playing peak-a-boo through some clouds.


We noticed another difference at the 4.2 mile mark where the trail passes a small pond. This years drought conditions were obvious by the difference in the water present.
Unnamed pond8/19/2013


Just over a half mile from the pond the trail passes over a ridge and descends through a rock field where we spotted one of our favorite animals, a pika.


After the descent the trail levels out somewhat as it passes through wildflower meadows before arriving alongside the South Breitenbush River.





As we neared a junction with a side trail to Park Lake at the six mile mark a break in the clouds finally revealed Mt. Jefferson.


We decided to return via Park Lake so we stuck to the South Breitenbush Trail after crossing the river on rocks and climbed for nearly a half mile to its end at the Pacific Crest Trail.

IMG_9924South Breitenbush Trail sign at the PCT junction.

IMG_9925PCT heading south through Jefferson Park.

We turned left on the PCT and headed north crossing the river again before turning right toward Russell Lake after .2 miles.


Russell Lake never disappoints. We passed around its north end and took a break on some rocks on its SE side.


IMG_9946Park Butte

After a snack we continued around the lake for a bit before veering to the SW and returning to the PCT which we followed south for .3 miles to a sign for Scout and Bays Lakes.

By the time we had reached Scout Lake the clouds had gained the upper hand and Mt. Jefferson had all but vanished.


With the mountain hidden and a five day backpacking trip beginning the next day we decided to skip Bays Lake and turned right at a sign for Rock and Park Lakes.

We likewise skipped Rock Lake this time staying above it and passing Park Lake.


We returned to the South Breitenbush Trail and headed back down to the trailhead. With the clouds rising to overtake Mt. Jefferson there was a better view of the surrounding valleys and ridges which showed the scars of the Whitewater Fire.

Aside from a few trees on hilltops surrounding the park there was no other visible sign of the Whitewater fire in the areas we visited.

We had been a little surprised by the lack of people we encountered in Jefferson Park but we were apparently just a bit early because we passed a lot of people heading up as we were descending. We made it back to our car by 1:30pm after hiking 14.3 miles and headed home to pack. It had been a relatively quick visit to Jefferson Park but we were planning on being on the road by 5am the next morning in hopes of reaching the Elkhorn Crest Trailhead before 11am. Happy Trails!

Flickr: South Breitenbush Trail to Jefferson Park