Rockpile Lake

October 20, 2002

Hoping that the gloomy forecast was wrong, we headed for the Bear Valley trailhead in the Jefferson Wilderness (104 miles one way). We planned a long loop hike that, according to Bill Sullivan, is a “demanding, view-packed route” up to Rockpile Lake. After hiking about 50 yards, we turned on an unmarked trail to the right that took us upon a 5.4 mile climb to the lake. Although clouds obscured most of the views, it was a pretty hike as the vegetation seemed to change constantly. The lake—our designated lunch spot—was shrouded in a wet cloud so we didn’t stay long although the cloud lifted a little so we could see the other side of the lake. Post lunch we headed south on the PCT along a trail cut into a very steep rocky slope covered with vine maple at its peak. The view was opening up enough so we could see the whole of Black Butte. The trail then meandered down to an intersection for Minto Lake. A short side trip rewarded us with this pretty lake sporting some glorious fall colors. The trail continued on into Bear Valley, past Bear Valley lake, and back to the trailhead. We covered just under 14 miles and climbed 2400', but never felt it was an exhausting hike. Definitely one to do on a clear day! Hikers were Wayne Deeter, Dick Hildreth, Ellen and Steve Johnson, Kristin Peterson, Rod Wood and Chris Stockdale, leader.


Group at Rockpile Lake


Black Butte from the PCT


At Minto Lake


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