Park Meadow/Golden Lake
August 31, 2006
The Park Meadow trailhead is off Three Creeks Lake Road 15 miles south of Sisters. The drive is on paved roads except for the last 1.2 miles which is on a rough, but manageable, road.
The sky was bright blue with perfect hiking temperatures in the high 70s. Unfortunately, only intrepid Obsidian hiker Sherwood Jefferies elected to join me. It was to be Sherwood’s first C hike. The first 2.7 miles of the trail proceed through a pine forest which gives way to a fir/hemlock forest as one hikes west. The trail was dusty due to a combination of lack of rain and heavy horse traffic. It is relatively flat with Park Meadow actually 200' lower than the trailhead. Snow, Squaw and Park Creeks are all still running full across the trail but provide easy log crossings. Park Creek marks the eastern boundary of the massive, beautiful, Park Meadow. Gentian, lupine and asters were still blooming in the Meadow. Park was still very green, not yet having noticeably suffered the effects of the arid conditions.
After crossing the Meadow, and merging with the Green Lakes Trail, the trail climbs 400' in a mile through the woods to the unsigned Golden Lakes Trailhead. This trailhead proved easy to find if one follows Sullivan’s directions in his ’98 Guide closely. The level trail is very well defined as it proceeds left 7/10s of a mile to the Lake. Broken Top looms overhead as one proceeds, with the Sisters behind you and to the West. Golden Lake is simply a breathtakingly beautiful alpine lake.
After lunch we climbed steeply 500' in just under a mile to view two attractive mountain tarns. From the rocks just above the lower tarn we could see all the Cascade Peaks to the North, as far as Hood, except Washington which seemed to be hidden behind the Sisters.
The return trip was uneventful-this year. We arrived back in Eugene about 8 p.m. at the end of a long, very worthwhile, day. Yes, Sherwood did just fine on his first C hike! Dan Christensen, leader.